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Clinical study underway to relieve pain from chronic cluster headaches

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DURHAM, N.C. -- Michael Woodall tries his best to put that horrible feeling into words.

“If you can imagine something the size of your fist probably on fire and shoved through your eye socket and a hammer beating around the eye socket at the same,” Woodall said.

He says that’s what it feels like to have a chronic cluster headache.

“There are times that I lay on the floor and you can sit there and you can try to cry, but you can't really control it; you want to scream but you can't,” Woodall said.

He has dealt with the debilitating headaches for six years with some of the headaches lasting 30 minutes to three hours.

It wasn’t until he went to the Carolina Headache Institute in Durham in 2015 that he received a diagnosis and began treatment.

Dr. Kevin Kahn, director of the Carolina Headache Institute, says as far as treatment goes, there aren’t many options for cluster and chronic cluster patients on the market.

The Carolina Headache Institute is now a trial site for a clinical study funded by Autonomic Technologies evaluating the ATI Neurostimulation System.

It’s designed to provide “targeted on-demand relief of chronic cluster headache” according to

The system is commercially available in some European countries and is currently going through a standard process of investigation before it can get approved in the United States.

“This would be the first approved treatment for chronic cluster. For people who can't get relief from the cluster headaches, it would literally be a life saver,” Kahn said.

Cluster and chronic headaches are considered rare.

The Carolina Headache Institute in Durham is currently enrolling participants for this study.

It’s the only enrolling site in the Carolinas.

Visit to see if you meet enrollment criteria.

For more information, contact Amy Pruitt from the Carolina Headache Institute directly at or (919) 942-4424 x 113.

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