Research: ARNDORFER and ALLEN

Listed in Issue 70

Abstract

ARNDORFER and ALLEN, West Central Human Service Center, Bismark, ND, USA, explored the efficacy of a thermal biofeedback package as a treatment for tension-type headaches in children .

Background

Methodology

This was a within-subject, time-lagged, multiple-baseline study. 5 children aged 8-14 years were assigned to baselines of varying lengths. Treatment, involving 6 thermal biofeedback treatment visits, was introduced sequentially across subjects. Parents received guidelines on how best to encourage children to independently use the biofeedback skills. Subjects learned the hand-warming skill, practised the skill on a regular basis during treatment, and independently used the skill to manage their pain.

Results

Following treatment, all subjects showed clinically significant reductions in one or more headache parameters (frequency, duration, intensity) . 4 of the 5 subjects were headache-free at 6-months' follow-up.

Conclusion

The treatment package was generally effective in these children with tension-type headaches, although the specific response appeared to depend on the specific type of headache experienced. No single measure of headache activity was the best indicator of response to treatment. The results support the use of this thermal biofeedback treatment package as an alternative treatment for children suffering tension-type headaches.

References

Arndorfer RE, Allen KD. Extending the efficacy of a thermal biofeedback treatment package to the management of tension-type headaches in children. Headache 41 (2): 183-92. Feb 2001.

Comment

Although this study only included 5 children, it is encouraging that 4 out of the 5 children were free of headaches at the follow-up 6 months later.

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