3 The procedure
3.1 Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation uses low‑voltage electrical currents to stimulate the cervical branch of the vagus nerve. The aim is to relieve pain and reduce the frequency of attacks for both cluster headaches and migraine.
3.2 Therapy is administered by the patient, using a handheld device the size of a mobile phone. The patient places the device on the side of the neck, over the cervical branch of the vagus nerve, positioning its 2 smooth metal stimulation surfaces in front of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, over the carotid artery. The patient slowly increases the stimulation strength until small muscle contractions are felt under the skin; stimulation is then applied for approximately 90 seconds. The device can be used to treat acute attacks, and as prophylaxis between attacks.