Long after returning from the front lines, many veterans continue to experience combat-related pain and disability, including migraine. One study of US Army soldiers who had returned from a 1-year combat tour in Iraq found that 36% reported migraine, compared to 12% of the U.S. civilian population.
While migraine can often be an inherited condition, many researchers believe the stress and injuries suffered in military service make veterans more likely to develop migraine. “In addition to increased exposure to stressful combat situations, servicemen and women have higher rates of traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion (mild TBI), or neck trauma; this can be caused by explosions, falls or other accidents. The post-traumatic headache that often follows these injuries dissipates for many within a few months, but in some cases it can persist longer or become chronic – especially if multiple traumas have occurred,” according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
More service members have been diagnosed with migraine in recent years. A report by the Department of Defense found migraine diagnoses increased by 27 percent from 2001-2007, during ongoing combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Incidence rates of migraine for male soldiers increased nearly 60% during that time.
Helping Veterans Overcome Migraine
Treating migraine in veterans with polytrauma, traumatic brain injury and/or multiple co-morbid conditions can be complex. Because CEFALY is a drug-free treatment with minimal side effects, it can be an effective part of some veterans’ migraine treatment programs. CEFALY Technology is proud to partner with VA Hospitals across the country to make CEFALY — an FDA-cleared, clinically proven migraine treatment — available to veterans. CEFALY is a small medical device worn on the forehead that sends tiny electrical impulses through a self-adhesive electrode to painlessly stimulate the trigeminal nerve, reducing the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks. It’s cleared for the acute treatment of migraine with or without aura and the preventative treatment of episodic migraine in patients 18 years of age or older.
If you’re a veteran who’s looking for migraine relief, the first step is to make an appointment with the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) or Neurology department at your nearest VA Hospital. Discuss your symptoms and concerns with your healthcare provider. If he or she determines that CEFALY could be a good treatment option for you, you’ll receive your CEFALY device directly from the VA, or it will be shipped to your home. CEFALY is fully covered under VA benefits.