Long-Term Effects of Biofeedback on Migraine Headache: A Prospective Follow-Up Study

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Abstract

SYNOPSIS

The aim of the present study was two-fold: to assess the long-term effects of biofeedback on migraine, andto determine the extent to which additional treatment after biofeedback treatment is completed can affectfollow-up results. Ninety-six women whose migraine had been treated through biofeedback either 2–3 years(shorter follow-up) or 6–7 years (longer follow-up) earlier were divided into four groups according to how longago they had received their biofeedback treatment and whether or not they had received any additionaltreatment (whatever the nature) since the posttreatment assessment: shorter follow-up without additionaltreatment (n = 24), shorter follow-up with additional treatment (n = 22), longer follow-up without additionaltreatment (n = 24), and longer follow-up with additional treatment (n = 26). Subjects were asked to keep aheadache diary for five weeks, as they had done during earlier assessments, Overall, results showed thatmigraine activity was significantly less at follow-up than at pretreatment. However, whether the observedlong-term benefits could be attributed to biofeedback was unclear because medication was found to be asmuch in use at follow-up as at pretreatment. Results also indicated that 51% of the subjects did seek additionaltreatment between posttreatment and follow-up. Contrary to expectations, however, additional treatment wasnot associated with better therapeutic benefits at follow-up. The research and the clinical implications of thosefindings are discussed.

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