What is Vagus Nerve Stimulation?


The vagus nerve is the communication superhighway between your brain and other parts of the body such as your heart, lungs and digestive tract. The vagus nerve sends messages from the brain down to the body and carries messages back into to the brain again. These messages activate chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters play an important role in how our bodies function. There are neurotransmitters that excite our nervous system called excitatory neurotransmitters and there are neurotransmitters that calm the nervous system down called inhibitory neurotransmitters.

With headaches, there is an idea that symptoms are due to over activation of the excitatory neurotransmitters and simply not enough of the inhibitory transmitters. A new approach to treating these disorders is to apply a specific electrical signal to the vagus nerve as it travels through the neck to the brain with GammaCore.

GammaCore® is the first non-invasive, hand-held medical device applied at the neck that acutely treats the pain associated with episodic cluster headache in adult patients through the transmission of a mild electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve through the skin. Designed as a portable, easy-to-use technology, GammaCore can be self-administered by patients as needed to provide relief for the treatment of pain associated with episodic cluster headache without the potential side effects associated with standard of care. When placed on a patient’s neck over the vagus nerve, gammaCore stimulates the nerve’s afferent fibers which may lead to a reduction of pain in patients.  

GammaCore is unique in that it safely and effectively can restore balance between the excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters, blocking the pain caused by the increase in glutamate in your brain. It’s a little like rebalancing the system that may bring you relief from your headache pain.

For more information, please click here or call today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Theofilos.

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