Headaches can be 'zapped away' with new NHS device which blocks pain signals for thousands of sufferers

HEADACHES can be "zapped away" with a new NHS device which will be able to block pain signals for thousands of sufferers.

The new gammaCore gadget can help debilitating "cluster" headaches by zapping away the pain with a low-level electric current to the neck.

The device will be available on the NHS, and patients can use it if they feel a headache coming on, or quickly stop them in their tracks if they have already started.

Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said: "While they may be small, these devices will make a huge difference to people who suffer from these debilitating headaches – relieving painful symptoms and allowing people to go about their daily lives as normal.

"This is the latest example of the NHS testing the latest tech and rolling it out at speed for patients across the country."

Cluster headaches affect one to two people in every 1,000 people – with patients more commonly being in their 30s and 40s.

They are described as a sharp burning or piercing sensation on one side of the head – with attacks lasting between 15 minutes and three hours.

Some people can experience up to eight cluster headaches in a day.

And some women have described the pain of cluster headaches as worse than childbirth.

But around one in 20 do not respond to traditional treatments such as painkillers or oxygen, NHS England said.

It estimates 11,000 people will benefit from the device following two years of clinical trials – with the technology funded by the Medtech Funding Mandate policy.

Matthew Whitty, director of innovation and life sciences for NHS England, said: "The Gammacore device will provide life-changing benefits for thousands of people and it is just one of a number of technologies that are being mandated by the NHS."

The gammaCore is one of a number of technologies being rolled out under the NHS Long Term Plan, which sets out the priorities and strategies for the health service over the next 10 years.

Lord Bethell, Minister for Innovation, said: "It’s hugely encouraging to see innovative technology transform the way we treat illness on the NHS.

"This new gammaCore device will bring relief to many who suffer from cluster headaches and is one of several innovative treatments available to patients on the NHS."

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