The pounding, the throbbing, the sensitive scalp, the agony! What if you could push a button and zap it all away?
Extreme headaches (and we’re talking about those very rare extreme cases) are first attacked with drugs and more drugs. But, if the pulsating brain tissue isn’t tamed, then some doctors are trying to directly stimulate nerves in the brain with a little, directed electrical shock.
Our body senses pain when certain nerves become active and send pulses of electricity to our brain to tell it something is wrong in the nerve’s neck of the woods. If we aren’t able to repair the problem causing the “pain receptor” nerves to be quiet, then another approach is to block or mask its electrical activity.
Implanting an electrode near an over-active nerve and passing electricity to directly stimulate the nerve has been seen to block the pain messages sent to the brain. The fact that this method has had some initial experimental success is very interesting because you might first think that this stimulation would enhance the pain signals. Somehow the additional electrical activity around the nerve acts to confuse the signals to the brain, and makes that throbbing feeling vanish.