The gammaCore is a vagal nerve stimulator: it has two electrodes that you hold against your vagal nerve on your neck. You turn it on and for a couple of minutes it puts out an electrical pulse. The goal is to eliminate and/or reduce cluster or migraine headaches.
The FDA has not approved the device yet, so you have to sign up to participate in a program to use it. Additionally, because its not approved, its not covered by insurance. Its got a built-in battery that only lasts about 30 days from the time of usage, so you have to buy a unit every 30 days. The unit is $500. Kinda pricey.
My neurologist wants me off all the drugs she put me on to manage my chronic pain, and wants to have me use nonevasive items like the gammaCore to manage things like headaches. I'm all for getting off drugs, I just got off Cymbalta for pain management and I want to get off gabapentin if at all possible. I'm taking all the supplements she wants me to take and they seem to be helping. The Quell device (which is like a tenS device on steroids) has helped with my nerve damage, so even though gammaCore is pricey, if it does its thing and resets my nervous system, great. I'll give it a whirl.
Today I gave it a whirl.
I started getting a migraine this morning. It often starts from other stimuli, such as neck spasms, allergies, extreme temp changes or a nose bleed. Today it was neck spasms - my neuralgia is acting up. I unpacked the gammaCore from its gift-like box, put the conductor gel on the electrodes, stuck it to my neck and turned it on.
My neck made a noise I've never heard it make before, a kind of high pitched crack. A wave of pain shot through my head and down both sides of my neck. This can't be good!
The box comes with a booklet, which I did read, but nested in the booklet is a Warning page. I read through it while rubbing my neck... ahhhh! Right after the part where it says not to use it if you have heart problems, it states not to use if you have plates or screws in your neck. I do have both, from my double spine fusion 8 years ago.
Well dang. I guess my doctor didn't bother to read this thing either, since they are well aware of my damaged spine at the clinic.
So, guess this is off the table for me. I took some Maxalt and a handful of vicodin, and sprayed my neck with magnesium oil. I still have the option to try neuro-acupuncture, although I've got a healthy amount of skepticism towards it.