During the launch of Mynd, our new Migraine Headache Relief and Management device, our own David Maxfield wrote a compelling and informative blog post on Migraines and How To Manage Them. However, here at TensCare we are keen to hear what our customers have to think, so we reached out to 12 year migraine sufferer and awareness advocate, Sarah Cahill, for her thoughts. Here you can read her honest and comprehensive review of the Mynd Migraine Relief Device.
For the past 5 weeks I’ve trialled the neuromodulator Mynd, developed by TensCare and available soon in New Zealand.
Mynd is a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) device. It’s a small device that you attach to your forehead with reusable electrode pads and stimulates the trigeminal nerve via the supraorbital and supratrochlear nerve branches through small electrical currents.
The opportunity to review Mynd
In February this year I received an email from David Maxfield, the South Pacific Regional Manager of TensCare, who is based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He’d been reading my blog and wanted to let me know about a new product developed by TensCare called Mynd migraine relief.
Mynd was released in the United Kingdom in February and TensCare is working with a New Zealand distributor to make it available here. Mynd works pretty similar to Cefaly, which is another well-known TENS device for migraine.
As far as I’m aware, we don’t have easy access to other neuromodulators in New Zealand, so it’s a positive step having this hopefully available for Kiwis soon.
After chatting with David via email he agreed to let me trial Mynd for an honest review on this blog.
How Mynd works
Mynd works by sending a gentle electrical current through the gel electrode pad to disrupt the signals to the trigeminal nerve, with the aim of preventing and treating migraine pain.
If you have migraine, you may have heard of the trigeminal nerve and its involvement in migraine. The trigeminal nerve is one of 12 cranial nerves and transmits both sensory and motor information. It carries sensory information to your skin, sinuses and mucous membranes of your mouth, nose and tongue. It’s also involved in the movement of your jaw. In people with migraine, the trigeminal nerve is involved in the cascade of pain experienced during an attack.
That’s a very simple explanation for a really complex process (of course it’s complex, nothing about migraine is simple). If you want to know more about what causes migraine and the role of the trigeminal nerve I recommend checking out this video by the Association of Migraine Disorders:
Mynd has 2 modes: acute mode, which runs for 60 minutes, and prevention mode, which runs for 20 minutes. It also has 40 intensity levels, all which you control yourself. Once you’ve attached the Mynd to your forehead, about 1cm above your eyebrows, you turn it on with a simple push of a button. It’s automatically programmed to be on acute mode, so to change to prevention mode you hold down the on/off button again.
You then increase the intensity level until you find an intensity that is right for you, which you soon work out after a few days.
I recommend this video by TensCare if you want to understand the research and evidence for neuromodulators like Mynd. It’s not a promo video, but it is by TensCare, however the first half is an impartial explanation of neuromodulators such as Mynd and Cefaly, and the other half focuses on how Mynd works. It’s an hour and a half long, so make sure you have a cup of tea and some snacks handy before you start.
My experience using Mynd for 5 weeks
Most days I have a dull ache behind my right eye that, given the right (or wrong) circumstances, develops into a migraine attack. My first day with Mynd was a ‘good’ day so I started with the 20-minute prevention mode.
I’ve read quite a few articles and blogs about people’s experiences with using Cefaly so I felt I knew what to expect. And having electrical stimulation of your brain nerves feels exactly like you expect it to feel like.
It’s a bit hard to describe, but basically it felt like an intense tingling sensation, initially just where Mynd was on my forehead, but as I increased the intensity the sensations became more intense and I could feel the electrical sensations around other parts of my head. It wasn’t unpleasant and over the next few days and weeks I really looked forward to the sensation, especially during a migraine attack. I’m unfortunately very familiar with feeling something in my head every day so this new sensation was actually quite a novelty.
During my first session I reached intensity 30 and over the next few days I alternated between prevention mode and acute mode, to get a feel for how they differed and if I could tolerate intensity 40. Both modes felt similar, but in the acute mode the electrical currents from the device were emitted in more of a wave/swirling pattern from the Mynd, and in prevention mode the currents felt the same.
Using Mynd during a migraine attack
About 9 days after using Mynd each night in mostly prevention mode, I woke with a migraine attack. I had a few things I needed to do in the morning and didn’t have an hour to sit with Mynd on so I took 100mg of sumatriptan and got on with my day, albeit with a not so great head.
In the afternoon the effects of the sumatriptan started to wear off. Usually I would take another sumatriptan but instead I decided to use Mynd in the acute, 60 minute mode.
It felt great to have on during an attack and gave my brain a different sensation to focus on for an hour. It didn’t take my migraine pain away as such, but it did mean I didn’t take another sumatriptan so possibly it dulled the pain a bit.
The next morning I woke without the attack ongoing. I can’t say definitively it was because of Mynd as my migraine attacks aren’t the predictable 72 hour attacks they used to be when I had episodic migraine. But I was very happy regardless, and that evening I used the 20-minute prevention mode.
Over the next 5 weeks, until I sadly had to return it, I used it religiously each day. If my head was pretty good I used it every evening for 20 minutes, and on the days I could feel a migraine attack coming on, or if I woke with an attack, I found some time in the day to use it for the 60 minutes. My family became pretty familiar with seeing me walking around the house, sometimes even cooking dinner, with it stuck to my forehead.
One thing that was interesting was that the stimulation seemed much more intense on my right side, where my migraine pain always is. When I used it at the max intensity I could feel the currents at the top of my head, but only on my right side.
Did it help reduce my migraine attacks?
I wish I could give you a definitive answer, but I’m not sure.
On the TensCare website it says it’s been clinically proven to relieve and prevent migraine headaches. During a migraine attack, it honestly felt pretty blissful to have the electrical currents zapping through my cranial nerves, and I do believe it helped me take a few less triptans. But the 5 weeks wasn’t long enough to conclude if it helped to decrease the number of migraine attacks I got or the intensity of the attacks. But just like the Cefaly, Mynd isn’t touted as a quick fix solution and it may take a few months to see if it has any preventative effects.
Do I recommend you try it?
Yes, maybe, it depends.
I really enjoyed my trial of Mynd and I’m keen to purchase one myself when they become available here (they’re not just yet but will be soon).
For me, it’s another non-medication tool I can use during a migraine attack. I’m a big fan of non-medication treatment options, and even though I don’t know if the prevention mode will have any long-term benefits, I’m keen to try. What I did enjoy most was the 60 minutes of electrical stimulation during a migraine attack.
My recommendation whether you think it’s the right device for you is to weigh up a few factors.
Do you like pressure or sensations on your forehead during an attack or do you become really sensitive to touch?
I love my Shakti headband wrapped extra tight during an attack, so for me the stimulation during an attack was great. I can imagine if you’re sensitive to external stimulation, and especially if you have allodynia, you may not tolerate the sensation.
How much of your migraine budget have you used this year?
Having migraine can be expensive and I’ve spent quite a lot of money over the years visiting various specialists, trying different supplements, paying for medications, buying specific foods to avoid migraine triggers, that sort of thing.
Mynd isn’t available in New Zealand yet so the price is still undecided. In the UK it costs £148.00, plus you have the ongoing expense of buying the gel electrodes, which are £10.95 for a pack of two, enough for two replacements. The TensCare website states the electrodes “will last a while before they need replacing”. I had mixed results with the pads and is the one negative with owning a Mynd.
The first electrode I used (they are double sided, one side sticks to the Mynd, the other to your forehead), lasted about a week with every day use. The second pad lasted a few days longer, but the next few pads only lasted a few days before they lost their stickiness. I then got lucky again with the next one that lasted for just over a week. So the pads are an ongoing expense you need to factor in.
What type of migraine do you have?
Migraine is a neurological disorder with many different types, all with different symptoms, and symptoms often vary between people. I have migraine without aura and my head pain lives behind my right eye and forehead. Where the Mynd sat on my forehead was where some of my forehead pain is felt, so the positioning felt right for me. My main symptom is also just head pain (sometimes with a bit of nausea), but if you experience many of the other non-head pain symptoms I would encourage you to do your research about the effect of neuromodulators.
It’s also important to point out that while I used Mynd I continued with all the other pieces of my treatment pie to help manage my attacks. While my pieces of pie have changed a bit since I wrote this blog, fundamentally I still make sure I eat regularly and eat well (mostly), I don’t drink alcohol (going on 18 months), limit caffeine, exercise regularly, prioritise sleep, take supplements, semi-regular breathwork and mindfulness and sometimes medications.
I think Mynd is a great device for people with migraine to have available. Especially as an option for us Kiwis. We have far more limited access to other treatment options, so having something non-invasive and easy to use is a plus.
Like everything, there are some potential side effects, which are listed on the website, although I didn’t experience any of them.
As mentioned, Mynd isn’t available in New Zealand yet. I had hoped to include the details in this blog about where to purchase and the cost, but TensCare is still working with the distributor to get it registered and available in New Zealand. But as soon as I know when and where you can purchase it, and what the cost is, I will let you know in another blog post.
And hopefully it’s been clear, but this isn’t a sponsored blog post or advertorial! I was offered a free trial for an honest of Mynd, and I hope I’ve delivered.
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve used another neuromodulator and what your experience has been. Email me: email@example.com, join the conversation on Facebook or join the Migraine Down Under community in our private Facebook group.
And I’m now on Instagram, come say hello!
More information about neuromodulators
Neuromodulation for migraine treatment: An overview, American Migraine Foundation
Neuromodulation Therapies for Headache, Practical Neurology