Evaluation of a 5-day Non-drug Training Program for Headache at the Menninger Foundation


  • Joseph D. Sargent M.D.,

  • Patricia Solbach Ph.D.,

  • Lolafaye Coyne Ph.D.



In 1972 a non-drug program to meet the requests of headache sufferers outside the local area was begun; the purpose was to give these individuals the basic skills in applying biofeedback to their headache problem. Over the next 412 years, 166 headache patients, mostly migraineurs, were seen in this program. During the 5-day period the patient underwent a complete work-up and 10 one-hour biofeedback training sessions.

A 50 item follow-up questionnaire was sent to the 166 participants; 79 were returned. An examination of 21 variables from the medical records showed no significant differences on crucial headache variables between Returnees and Non-Returnees of the questionnaire.

Sixty-seven percent of those who responded felt their headache condition had improved since the biofeedback training; success in controlling the headache was related to continued practice of the skills acquired in the 5-day period. Other post treatment attempts at therapy dramatically decreased in comparison to the number of other therapies tried prior to the biofeedback training.