Is It Worth Trying Spring TMS for Migraine without Aura?

Health Professional

Full Question:

First, thank you for all of the information you provide about new treatments on this site. Teri, thank you for being willing to share your personal experience with the treatments you try. I know my experience could very well be vastly different, but still appreciate reading about another patient's true experience. To my question. I've read your articles about the Spring TMS device and have read the conversations about it in HealthCentral's Facebook group. I have both migraine without aura and migraine with aura, I guess that's common. I only get an aura about a quarter of the time. Do you think it's worth trying this device since most of my migraines happen without aura? Thanks for everything you both do, Jenna.

Full Answer:

Dear Jenna;

Thank you for your comments, and you're very welcome. It always makes both of us very happy to know that we've been able to help.

Quite a body of research has shown that acute migraine treatments, those we use when we get a migraine, are more effective when used early in a migraine attack. Migraine aura symptoms often serve as a warning since they occur before the headache phase of an attack, thus allowing patients to treat earlier than if they don't know they have a migraine until the headache phase. (For more information on the potential phases of a migraine attack and their possible symptoms, see our article, Anatomy of a Migraine, and our infographic, Understanding the Anatomy of a Migraine.) The clinical trials that led to the FDA approval of the Spring TMS device were performed with migraineurs who had migraine with aura. Thus, the approval of the Spring was for migraine with aura. Anecdotally, it appears that the Spring is probably more successful in the acute treatment of migraine with aura than migraine without aura, but patients do report some success in migraine without aura as well. The difference may well be related to being able to treat migraine with aura earlier in the attack.

The decision of whether it's worth trying the Spring TMS device, given that most of your migraines are without aura, is ultimately yours, of course. Your doctor may be able to assist you with that decision. You're asked for our opinion, and we'll give it, but our opinion is not medical advice and shouldn't be substituted for the advice of and a conversation with your own doctor.

Yes, we think it's worth trying the Spring TMS device for migraine without aura, especially for patients who also have migraine with aura. It has generally not been recommended that patients treat migraine with medications during the first phase of a migraine attack, the prodrome, for a few reasons:

  • Prodrome symptoms can begin days before a migraine gets to the headache phase.
  • We lack evidence that treating during the prodrome phase is very effective at totally aborting an attack.
  • Migraine abortive medications such as the triptans tend to be expensive, and insurance coverage tends to limit the number of doses covered. So, patients want to be sure that what they're feeling IS a migraine before taking them.
  • We want to avoid overuse of medications in order to avoid medication overuse headache.

Acute migraine treatment with the Spring differs in a few ways:

  • The Spring TMS is not limited to a certain number of uses during the prescribed period. It will deliver unlimited single magnetic pulses for the duration of the period of the prescription.
  • The Spring TMS is not limited to how many times it can be used in a day.
  • The Spring TMS has no potential to cause medication overuse headache.

We hope this is helpful and that, if you try the Spring TMS, it proves to be effective for you.

Thanks for your question,
Dave Watson and Teri Robert


About Ask the Clinician:

Dr. David Watson is a UCNS certified migraine and headache specialist and director of the Headache Center at West Virginia University. He and Lead Health Guide Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about _ Dr. Watson_ or more about _** Teri Robert** _.

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