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Treatment of migraine attacks by compression of temporal superficial arteries using a device

Carlo Cianchetti, Maria Elisabetta Cianchetti, Tiziana Pisano, Yousef Hmaidan

Med Sci Monit 2009; 15(4): CR185-188

ID: 869619

Background: We recently reported that prolonged compression of the scalp arteries blocks pain in a large percentage of migraine attacks. We aimed to determine whether the use of a simple device that compresses the temporal superficial arteries can ameliorate migraine pain.
Material and Method: Thirty consecutive patients (21 women, 9 men), who had positive effect with prolonged digital compression, were included in this study. Subjects were instructed to apply a simple device that firmly compresses both temporal arteries at the onset of each migraine attack.
Results: Eight subjects terminated treatment because of localized pain induced by compression of the device. In the remaining 22 subjects, 38.4% of all attacks in the first treatment month and 52.5% in the second month were aborted or attenuated by at least 1 degree of severity. Painkiller use dropped from a mean of 6.9 tablets in the month prior to use of the device to a mean of 4.5 in the first month and 3.8 in the second month of application of the device; the differences were statistically significant for both months (p<.001). Opinions regarding the effect of the device were positive for 15 subjects (slightly for 3, moderately for 8, and markedly for 4) and negative for 3; the remaining 4 subjects were uncertain as to its effect.
Conclusions: A simple device that induces compression of the temporal arteries can abort or reduce pain in a significant number of migraine attacks. This represents a new method for treating migraine attacks and suggests the involvement of extracranial nociceptive afferents in the pathophysiology of migraine.

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