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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 16:19 GMT
Thinking cap for migraine relief
A bricklayer plagued by migraines has turned his torment into a brainwave.

Hywel Edwards, 28, from Merthyr Tydfil in the south Wales Valleys, has invented a cap which allows a migraine sufferer to block out the light as well as surround their head with a cold press.

And the idea - thought up after two days' agony when tablets and lying in a darkened room was not working - is set be a business winner.

The Welsh Development Agency has helped Mr Edwards set up a mail order company to manufacture and market his device - the Migra-Cap - to the estimated six million people in the UK who suffer from migraines.

Doctors still do not fully understand what causes migraines, a debilitating condition characterised by blinding headaches.

A host of remedies - with and without drugs - are recommended but sufferers still have to find a treatment which works for them.

I knew what I wanted - I knew it was really going to work.
Hywel Edwards

Mr Edwards' moment of inspiration came two-and-a-half years ago when he had been bedridden for two days with agonising migraine pains.

He has been inflicted with migraines three or four times a month since the age of four and on this occasion, despite being in a darkened room with a wet flannel on his head, he was still suffering badly.

"I really thought this was it, I thought I was going to have a stroke - I was begging my mother to do something for me," he said.

What his mother, Barbara Ann, did was to suggest trying a cold-therapy gel used for treating sports injuries.

When Mr Edwards put the packet of gel on his forehead, it was a moment which was change his life and career - and may yet lead to the creation of jobs in one of the most deprived areas of Wales.

"As soon as I put it on, it felt great, it was working for me - but I still had pain at the side of my head."

Cold therapy - using materials kept in a fridge or freezer - is a recognised treatment for migraine pain but Mr Edwards found was the gel sachet was not big enough to reach all the areas of the headache at the same time.

Once he recovered from that migraine attack he set about developing what was to become his medical product, the Migra-Cap.

The elasticated fabric cap fits completely over the head - with large patches to cover the eyes - and incorporates nine sachets of cold therapy gel in the typical pain locations - the eyes, forehead and the back and sides of the head.

He tested the cap on himself for six months to perfect its design and swears that, while its use does not prevent his migraines, it vastly reduces their duration and the pain his suffers.

"Nothing really helped me. I knew what I wanted from the Migra-Cap. I knew it was really going to work," he said.

Inspiration

"I have taken enough medication - with medication comes side-effects."

Mr Edwards has now invested 25,000 of his own money - backed with a grant of 18,000 from the WDA - to set up a distribution unit on Pentrebach Industrial Estate in Merthyr Tydfil.

The British charity Migraine Action Association has written about the therapeutic device in the magazine for its 17,000 members.

And next month he has an interview with the high street pharmacy chain, Boots, about stocking his product.





LINKS TO MORE WALES STORIES


 

SEE ALSO:
Nasal spray for migraine
29 Oct 02 |  Health
Gene clue to migraine mystery
09 Mar 02 |  Health
Migraines costing business dear
18 Jun 01 |  Health
Migraine
03 Sep 99 |  Medical notes


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