Showing up is half the battle – predictor of improvement of headache disability

At the NYHC, just like at all headache clinics, we see many patients with severe disability. A very interesting study just published in the journal Pain seems to tell us how to predict which of these disabled patients will respond to treatment. Researchers at the Ohio University compared patients whose severe disability improved with treatment and those whose did not. They carefully examined a wide variety of possible factors, including race/ethnicity (African American versus Caucasian American), psychiatric comorbidity, headache management self-efficacy, perceived social support, locus of control, number of headache diagnoses, migraine versus tension-type headache diagnosis, chronic versus episodic headache diagnosis, headache days per month, headache episode severity, and whether the patient attended all scheduled treatment appointments. The only factor that seemed to predict whose disability will improve and whose will not was the attendance of the 3 follow-up visits. Those who came for follow-up visits were much more likely to improve than those who did not – showing up is half the battle.

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