Underutilization of behavioral and other alternative therapies by headache specialists

Behavioral therapies, such as biofeedback, progressive relaxation, cognitive therapy, and other alternative therapies are routinely recommended only by a quarter of headache specialists, according to research presented at the 54th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in Los Angeles by Robert Nichols of St. Louis. This despite the fact that these therapies are considered proven (so called, Grade A evidence) to relieve migraine and other headaches. Physicians are more likely to prescribe medications, even if they are less proven to work and carry a risk of serious side effects, which are absent with behavioral therapies. Cost of biofeedback and cognitive therapy can be one of the obstacle for some patients, but many techniques such as relaxation training or meditation are inexpensive and are easily learned without the help of a mental health professional. Other studies have shown that combining a behavioral technique with a preventive migraine medication results in better outcomes than with either therapy alone. So, if you take a medication it does not mean that you could not find additional relief from behavioral approaches, as well as aerobic exercise, magnesium, and other alternative therapies.

1 comment
  1. Sandy Baker says: 07/13/20123:45 pm

    I really enjoyed your blog post and how much information you impart about behavioral therapies. Unfortunately, headache medicine doesn’t sit well with me either. I just feel like there has to be a better way to deal with tension and headaches. I used to try the green tea remedies too as an alternative to medicine.

    I found a neat product called Aculief that uses pressure on the LI4 spot on my hand to provide tension relief. Check out their website for more info: http://www.aculief.com/products/aculief. I hope this helps more people like me not need to rely on medicine to solve the problem!

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