What? you ask? How can air in the ear have anything to do with a Migraine treatment?
As odd as it sounds, recently retired Australian chiropractor Adam Meredith has been placing air in the ear of his migraine patients, over the last 5 years, to turn off their migraines.
You see, it turns out, that in the human ear canal there are 2 nerves there, both of which are scientifically known to help with migraine
These nerves are called the trigeminal and vagus nerves. and there is a lot of good research showing that calming down these nerves can calm down migraines both as an abortive treatment (1,3) and preventative therapy (2,4)
Neuromodulation the Future of Migraine Therapy.
Researchers and migraine experts have been using a technique called “neuromodulation” on these two nerves for years now, studying their effects on migraines. Neuromodulation simply means affecting a nerve for a positive patient outcome.
Neuromodulation is usually done with “electrical “stimulation, much like a TENS machine you might get at a physiotherapist or a physical therapist, that’s those machines that run a current over your muscle to ease things like neck pain and back pain.
Well, Adam Meredith uses neuromodulation but instead of an electrical device, he used air.
It just so happens that the ear canal is supplied by both the trigeminal and vagus nerve. Prior to using air as a neuromodulator, scientist had typically studied the effect of the trigeminal and nerve the vagus nerve separately.
This is mainly because of the way scientific trials are run. Scientists typically like one variable when they perform a study. In science they like to have a control and one single variable to measure, so they can see the effects of this variable. This underlies the scientific method.
But by using air in the ear canal Adam Meredith was able to stimulate both these migraine helping nerves at the same time. We believe using air in this way was one of the first techniques that allowed for both nerves to be used at the same time.
When air is gently moved in and out of the ear, the ear canal wall’s and the ear drum move slightly. This stimulates both trigeminal and vagus nerves, sending impulses to the brain. This technique allowed Adam Meredith to see how stimulating both these nerves at the same time might affect migraines.
In Adam Meredith’s own words:
“I remember clearly the first time I put air into a migraine patient’s ear. She rang my office saying she had a migraine coming on.
I placed air in her ear and did a gentle cycle of air pumping. Back then we used a stethoscope with a small rubber bulb/pump attached. We did this, so we could see the ear canal and ear drum movements in response to the air pressure.
I squeezed the bulb 30 times, very gently and slowly. At the end of this I asked the patient how she felt. The patient responded and said – I think I feel better. I did another 30 pump cycle and then another. After each 30 pump cycles I asked the patient “how are you feeling?” She kept saying “I think it’s getting better. We then went to the patient’s other ear and did another 30 pump cycle off air.
I asked the patient again “how do you feel “she was lying down during this procedure. She sat up on the examination table, and looked me directly in the eye, and said “ I think you just turned off my Migraine “ I looked back at her and said “ I think we have “
That was in 2015, and from that moment I have been perfecting air in the ear and making a device that the patients can carry with them or on them to give them the opportunity to turn off their migraine whenever one was starting to come on ! We called that device a Migraine Stopper.
How does the Migraine Stopper Work?
When a migraine occurs parts of the brain and brain stem become overly excited (it’s like a brewing electrical storm that turns into a massive storm with thunder and lightning .This leads to a whole host of…