This photo is from June, 2015- my first time using the Cefaly devise. At this point, the Cefaly was fairly new, just approved by the FDA and insurance would not cover it (I'm unsure if it's covered now, something that probably varies with each company.) We paid $400 out of pocket for the device plus the cost of the electrodes (about $25 for 3). I was seeing a new nurse practitioner in San Diego at the time (the wait list for the neurologist, like most, was months long) and she had never even heard of the Cefaly. I had to be an advocate for myself (which is always a good thing) and ask for what I wanted. The only way to get the device is with a prescription.
Just like with any new treatment path, you get a nervous excitement because maybe, just maybe, this will be it. The Cefaly at the time was the device picture above, and used just as a preventative. You place the sticky electrode on your forehead and the device rests on it. Pushing the button begins the twenty minute session, which builds to a certain intensity, stabilizes and then comes down over the set time. The intensity is controllable if it is too painful, all you have to do is push the button again and it keeps the intensity where it's at. The first few sessions I did need to stabilize early, but over the first week I became used to the pain/sensation. It almost reminds me of when your arm of leg falls asleep, that painful, tingly feeling- but more intense.
According to the Cefaly website (www.cefaly.us), "Most headaches and migraines involve the trigeminal nerve. Its superior branch ends at the exit of the eye socket, underneath the skin of the forehead.... Neurostimulation of the trigeminal nerve with: Cefaly prevent setting (low frequency, daily short sessions) restores progressively a normal metabolism in the fronto-temporal cortex of migraineurs; that is to say an improvement of the migraine-triggering threshold, which consequently reduces the frequency of migraine attacks."
Personally, my migraines mostly involve and originate in the back of my head on the left side. I do have pain sometimes in my eyes, temples and forehead, but not always. Therefore, the Cefaly was not very helpful for me. I consistently used it of almost a year without much relief. I got used to the feeling of the sessions, and it was almost more of a comforting distraction, especially on days I had a migraine. Eventually I stopped using it all together, and now it sits in my linen closet just in case I want it again.
Now, Cefaly offers three different devices and it is advertised in neurology offices. I believe that the nurse practitioner I see now (whom I love) wouldn't have prescribed the Cefaly for me. Knowing more about the device and myself, I would not want it now. For me and my chronic migraines it just doesn't help, so the time and the discomfort is not worth it. I have no regrets about trying it (just like when I did nerve blocks)... I know that the main goal of the company is to help patients have fewer migraines using a non-invasive, non-drug method. I applaud them for their efforts, advancements and for all the help they provide the many patients that have had success with their device.
Have you ever used a Cefaly? Did you find it helpful?