Oxytocin — the so-called “love hormone” that has been shown to increase trust and social bonding — may work as pain reliever to treat headaches.
According to a 2010 study, headache patients were given a daily dose of oxytocin as a nasal spray for several weeks. 50% of the patients reported their headache pain was reduced by half, and an additional 27% reported no pain after four hours. By comparison, 11 percent of patients who were given a placebo spray said their headache pain was cut by half after four hours, and none reported complete pain relief.
All patients in the study had a condition called chronic daily headache, in which people experience at least 15 headaches a month — often severe migraines. About 6 million Americans suffer from this debilitating condition.
The researchers said oxytocin is believed to work by acting on the trigeminal nerve, which carries pain information from the head and face. Oxytocin binds to receptors in this nerve and blocks the pain signals.
While the oxytocin study was encouraging, scientists are now working to determine whether the treatment has long-lasting effects and if can it be used to treat other types of pain, such a migraines.
On average, the treatment did not start working until after four hours. And any benefit was gone after 24 hours, says Dr. Egilius Spierings, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School who studies headache pain management.
The oxytocin treatment took longer to work than traditional migraine therapies, which usually kick in after about two hours. Because of oxytocin’s apparent delayed effect, doctors speculate this therapy to treat headaches would not be suitable to treat occasional migraine, because these patients would likely want something faster.
As for side effects, the researchers didn’t not find any adverse reactions — only strong inclinations for a lot of love, affection, and cuddling.
If you suffer from headaches, migraines, or painful TMJ, it’s important you see a pain management professional like me for an immediate consultation. Pain treatment, like TruDenta therapy offered here at Pasadena Pain Management, can provide lasting relief depending on the source of your migraines.
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