Vagus Nerve Stimulation

  • Simon AkermanEmail author
  • Marcela Romero-Reyes
Part of the Headache book series (HEAD)


The use of neuromodulatory devices for the treatment of neurological disorders provides a non-invasive and non-pharmacologic therapeutic approach for patients. Recent years have seen a significant increase in the development and assessment of the efficacy of these devices to treat primary headache and facial pain disorders. Non-invasive stimulation of the cervical vagus nerve afferent projection is one such approach whose development is very much advanced, having undergone several clinical trials to assess its efficacy in the treatment of both migraine and cluster headache. There have also been a series of preclinical studies to provide a translational validation of its clinical efficacy, and also as a way to understand the potential mechanism of therapeutic action involved. In this chapter, we will review the anatomy and physiology of the vagus nerve and provide clinical and preclinical evidence to support the medical use of vagus nerve stimulation for the treatment of primary headache and, potentially, facial pains, hypothesising likely mechanism of action.


Cervical vagus nerve stimulation VNS Invasive Non-invasive Migraine Cluster headache Facial pain Trigeminovascular Nucleus tractus solitarius 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neural and Pain SciencesUniversity of Maryland BaltimoreBaltimoreUSA

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