Vibrating headband could offer a drug-free way to unblock a chronic stuffy nose, research finds
- Tests on 52 people showed that symptoms improved within a week of using the device
A vibrating headband could be a new, drug-free way to unblock a chronic, stuffy nose.
New research has found that the band is as good at reducing symptoms as steroid nasal sprays, which, while effective, can cause side effects such as nosebleeds.
Some decongestant sprays are also not suitable for certain patients, such as those with high blood pressure.
Patients wear the headband, which fits over the forehead, for two 15-minute sessions per day. Tests on 52 people showed that symptoms improved within a week of using the device.
Chronic nasal congestion affects one in five people at some point. It has several causes, including medications such as beta blockers and allergies to pet hair, dust mites or pollen (allergic rhinitis).
A vibrating headband could be a new, drug-free way to unblock a chronic, stuffy nose (stock image)
Whatever the cause, the irritation causes the blood vessels in the lining of the nose to swell, leading to excessive mucus production.
The swelling may spread beyond the nasal cavity into the sinuses (air-filled cavities in the skull that are connected to the nasal passages through small ducts). Normally these allow the mucus to drain.
The new headband sends sound waves to the bones above the nose. The vibrations travel to the blocked nasal cavity and sinuses, where they are believed to have a dual effect: they help reduce the swelling of the blood vessels (breaking down the inflammatory cells), while also helping to reduce the swelling of the blood vessels (breaking down the inflammatory cells). physically moving the mucus.
The battery-powered headband, which can be easily used at home, is controlled by an app on a smartphone. Patients first use this to take multiple images of their face, which are then analyzed to produce a grid showing the volume of the nose and sinuses. calculated. The app then determines the best frequency for the vibrations.
In a recent month-long study, 52 patients with chronic nasal congestion used the vibrating headband or a placebo headband (which made sound but did not emit vibrations).
Those who received the vibrating headband experienced improvements comparable to some nasal sprays and were significantly less congested than the group who had the placebo headband.
Chronic nasal congestion affects one in five people at some point. It has several causes, including medications such as beta blockers and allergies to pet hair, dust mites or pollen (stock image)
The University of Texas researchers said in the journal International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology that the band “may be an attractive alternative for patients who have difficulty adhering to pharmacological treatments.”
Commenting on this approach, Professor Jaydip Ray, an ear, nose and throat consultant at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘This is an interesting study. The social, economic and occupational impact of nasal congestion and congestion on the large number of patients is significant.”
He added that many people self-medicate for extended periods by using over-the-counter nasal decongestants, “resulting in rebound congestion (when the problem is worsened by overuse of the medication), which is even more difficult to cure.”
He said that ‘a positive outcome from this innovative multi-centre pilot study using a non-intrusive, non-pharmacological treatment option is very encouraging’, but ‘larger studies would be needed’.
More than six in 10 patients who were dependent on medications were able to stop or reduce them after a single treatment with radiofrequency waves to destroy the posterior nasal nerve (which helps control mucus production).
- Tapping a nerve in the nose can help treat chronic nasal congestion, according to a study of 129 patients at Witten/Herdecke University in Germany and other centers.