Facial and Cranial Nerves: An Explanation of Supraorbital and Occipital Stimulation

One of the most common and crucial health issues facing Americans today is migraines. Studies show that virtually 1 in 4 households in America have someone with a migraine living there. That means 12% of the U.S. population. As you likely already know, there are a myriad ways to treat migraines and in all likelihood you’ve tried a lot of them yourself. The number of different medications on the market designed to alleviate migraine discomfort is enormous, and all of them have varying degrees of success usually ranging from doesn’t-work-at-all to works-fairly-well, but chances are you’ve never encountered something that really worked and gave you long-lasting results. Well, there is a treatment that is catching on as of late that is reportedly giving those lasting results that migraine victims have wished for. It’s called supraorbital nerve stimulation.

Supraorbital nerve stimulation? What’s that?

Well, the proper name for this procedure is actually supraorbital transcutaneous stimulation. This is how it works. A medical professional places a device either under the 2 forehead skin or directly on top of the forehead (over the skin) that applies an electrical current to a frontal nerve branch called the supraorbital nerves. The devices stimulates these nerves, causing it branch out to other areas such as the frontal sinus, eye sockets, scalp, and forehead. Stimulating the supraorbital nerves in these areas results in surprisingly effective and fast-acting relief from migraine headaches. Now, before we go any further, we need to explain occipital nerve stimulation.

Occipital nerve stimulation? What’s that?

It is another form of nerve stimulation similar to the one described above but with a major difference. This one is designed to send electromagnetic pulses (mild ones, mind you) in and around the nerves of the spinal cord. This is done by implanting the neurostimulation device under the skin near the spinal cord area. Rather than focusing on the frontal areas as supraorbital nerve stimulation does, occipital nerve stimulation focuses on nerves in and near the back of the head, otherwise known as the lesser and greater occipital nerves. When performed in conjunction together, these two treatments provide incredible migraine relief. Some patients say it’s the greatest migraine relief they’ve ever experience. Now, because these two treatments are clearly more invasive then simply taking medication, people often don’t opt for forms of nerve stimulation until they’ve exhausted all medication options. Once a person has confirmed through trail and error that nothing they have tried gives them adequate relief, then nerve stimulation treatments are typically considered. You will also be glad to know that though these procedures are considered invasive because often times the stimulation devices are placed underneath the skin, both of these procedures are extremely safe and have almost to 3 potential negative side effects whatsoever. So if you are considering getting supraorbital or occipital nerve stimulation, there is no need to be concerned about side effects or whether or not these are tried and trusted medical procedures because they most certainly are. In fact, you may be surprised at how many people you know have already tried these procedures with great success! Interesting fact: the first doctor to successfully treat a patient with both forms of nerve treatment described above was Dr. Kenneth L. Reed.