Author(s): Paemeleire K, Bartsch T
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Abstract Occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) was originally described in the treatment of occipital neuralgia. However, the spectrum of possible indications has expanded in recent years to include primary headache disorders, such as migraine and cluster headaches. Retrospective and some prospective studies have yielded encouraging results, and evidence from controlled clinical trials is emerging, offering hope for refractory headache patients. In this article we discuss the scientific rationale to use ONS to treat headache disorders, with emphasis on the trigeminocervical complex. ONS is far from a standardized technique at the moment and the recent literature on the topic is reviewed, both with respect to the procedure and its possible complications. An important way to move forward in the scientific evaluation of ONS to treat refractory headache is the clinical phenotyping of patients to identify patients groups with the highest likelihood to respond to this modality of treatment. This requires multidisciplinary assessment of patients. The development of ONS as a new treatment for refractory headache offers an exciting prospect to treat our most disabled headache patients. Data from ongoing controlled trials will undoubtedly shed new light on some of the unresolved questions. Copyright 2010 The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Neurotherapeutics
and referenced in Journal of Pain Management & Medicine