The long-term effects of relaxation training for pediatric headache disorders was determined for 17 of 20 original participants from a prospective control-group experimental design study with random assignment to antogenic relaxation, progressive relaxation, autogenic plus progressive relaxation, or waiting list control groups. Long-term follow-up data were obtained at an average of 51 months post-treatment.
All participants reported some increases in headache activity. Participants in the three relaxation treatment groups, however, had significantly more headache-free days and less severe headache compared to the control group. There were no significant effects of treatment for headache duration, medication intake and rest time due to headache.
Twelve of the 13 treated participants indicated relaxation training was effective in relieving headaches, with 7 reporting they practiced relaxation exercises within the past month. The results generally support the long-term benefits of relaxation in reducing headaches originating in childhood.