I was interviewed by Cefaly in 2016, which you can READ HERE! I am sharing this because I want to include full disclosure of my experience with this brand, but I am in no way affiliated or paid/compensated by Cefaly! I just get a ton of questions regarding my use of Cefaly anytime I post wearing it and wanted to answer all of your questions and share my experience (good and bad) with this product! I put together all the questions I have been asked and answer them in this blog!
"What’s your Cefaly experience like?
from my 2016 interview with Cefaly:
"I will actually use Cefaly consistently throughout the day, especially if I have a really bad migraine and I can’t bare it. I use it often more, than once a day. Cefaly is a tool that I have. My migraines are very complicated and in conjunction with other treatments and medications the Cefaly is something I have in my ‘migraine toolbox’ at my disposal to use, as I need it both as a preventative and an abortive. It’s something I really rely on. You can only take so many abortives. I always have it in my purse, I don’t leave the house without it. I don’t think I could go a day without it now that I have it. I am currently on a lot less medications, about 1/3 of what I was taking prior to the hospital. It’s tricky to limit your medications when your migraines are daily but using Cefaly as a tool, and having a combination of treatments my migraines are more under control than they have been since becoming debilitating 4 years ago. I’d say my migraines have been better, less intense and my worst migraines are more rare; certainly more manageable with the conjunction of treatments."
What IS Cefaly and how does it work?
Cefaly is an External Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation device (e-TNS) for migraine treatment. You put an electrode (I recommend the electrode for sensitive skin, even though its a few extra $) on the forehead and the Cefaly device is magnetically connected to this electrode. It will stay on your head without you holding it there! Precise micro-impulses are then sent through the electrode to the upper branch of the trigeminal nerve to either relieve the headache pain during a migraine attack (Acute setting) or to prevent future migraine attacks (Prevent setting).
There are currently 3 different models available, acute, prevention and BOTH! You see me wearing the original version which looked a lot like a crown or Star-trek accessory, its always a conversation starter, that's for sure! I traded my original version in for the new one!
(I also have trigeminal neuralgia so it has worked well to treat my pain both as a preventative and as acute treatment)
What does it feel like?
It feels like tingly pulses that go over your forehead and down the back of your head. I love how it feels as it distracts and disrupts my pain signals, but I've let friends and family with migraine try it and a handful of them felt it was way too intense and even hurt them to try. It's easy to stop and take off if it doesn't feel good and this is why they offer a 60 day money back guarantee! I recommend laying down and allowing it to run it's course for maximum benefit, but definitely stop if at any point it's uncomfortable or painful! It's an odd sensation to get used to, for me a very welcomed one!
Is the Cefaly worth trying?
I do recommend Cefaly to many Migraine friends (and family) because it is MEDICATION FREE, although you DO need a prescription from your doctor to purchase. I realize this is an expensive purchase for your migraine arsenal/toolbox and I encourage people to try the 60 day-money back guarantee. I have worked with Cefaly's customer service and they are truly on the ball and while I didn't return mine after 60 days, I felt that I would've easily been able to if it did not work for me. As a patient advocate who is constantly working to get more effective and safe pain intervention for people with migraine and other chronic illnesses/pain conditions, the Cefaly device is very exciting to me! I also considered the cost of what I spend on prescriptions and the toll that prescription medications take on my body and personally feel that the Cefaly device is well worth it if it can help limit medication overuse! When my friends come to me and say a loved one is pregnant and is suffering with horrible migraines but can't take medication, I ALWAYS recommend Cefaly to them!
Who can use Cefaly?
Adults who experiences migraine (3 or more a month) that do not want to take medications or who wants to limit their use of medications for treatment. It is effective for migraine patients with or without aura. (I do not have aura). When I started using Cefaly I had 25-31 migraine days a month and used it in conjunction with several other therapies including prescription medication.
Is there a difference between the original version and the new Cefaly?
Yes, aside from ditching the crown look, they have made improvements and now offer an acute, preventative AND a device that has both modes available. If I was purchasing today, I would get the one with BOTH options as I mentioned earlier! The earlier model only had one mode available!
Unfortunately, I had to stop using the Cefaly because I started getting burns from it on my forehead. I notified the company and ordered sensitive skin electrodes and that helped slightly but overall I had to do without until the marks healed fully. I honestly would wear it despite the marks sometimes when I was really desperate for relief, or to at least make the pain bearable. (Yes, I prefer burn marks on my forehead to migraine pain, ANY DAY!)
I want to note that part of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, is sensitive, thin, "elastic like" skin that easily wounds and slowly heals. It is fully possible that this happened to me because of my sensitive skin. I did use for years without any issues, so this may have also developed as I began heavily relying on the device during migraine attacks. I really don't know, the company said I was the only person to ever report any burns or markings from the device... so this might just be one of those weird oddities that is unique to me- YAY. Either way, I wanted to disclose this part of my experience as well and let you make the decision for yourself based on ALL the info I can share!
I got used to not using it reguarly and only need to use it occasionally now, but I still keep it in my purse ALWAYS. Next to my sumatriptan injections, The Cefaly is my second most effective tool in my arsenal for treating a migraine attack and I prefer it because it is DRUG FREE. I will use it occasionally as a preventative when I feel one flaring up, especially if I can discern that it's definitely a migraine or if I have an increase in facial pain.
*NOTE* It is important to clean your forehead before you apply the electrode, making sure your skin is oil and makeup free in order for the elctrode to stick and maximize the number of uses per electrode.
I DEFINITELY NEVER travel without my Cefaly, like ever. But be prepared... it's a conversation starter. I'm pretty sure people thought I was about to detonnoate a bomb when I clicked the button to start the Cefaly... Am I allowed to say that?