Public Release: 

Children find relief from migraine through biofeedback and relaxation training

American Academy of Neurology

ST. PAUL, MN - Relaxation training and biofeedback have proven to be promising treatments for children who suffer from migraine headaches, according to a study in the January 9 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The 20 children in the study, with an average age of 11-1/2 years, had all been clinically diagnosed with migraine. As part of the study, they were taught deep breathing, muscle relaxation and guided imagery techniques, and were encouraged to practice them at home at least three times a week and at the onset of a headache.

Headache severity in the children decreased from 5 on a 10 point scale prior to initial training to 4.5 at the time of the next visit, about five months later. The average frequency and duration of headaches also decreased from 12.9 days to just under 10 days a month, and in duration from 6.9 hours to 5.2 hours. Eighty-five percent of the parents of the children in the study reported that their children were functioning better by the end of the second therapy session.

Researchers also monitored the children's peripheral body temperature (PBT) using a computer-based biofeedback system. The PBT rose 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit on average following the first relaxation training and 3.7 degrees Fahrenheit following the second. As the body becomes more relaxed, body temperature rises.

"We believe the biofeedback-assisted relaxation training techniques, in conjunction with lifestyle and traditional drug therapies, have the potential to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches in children and to improve school attendance," according to study author Scott W. Powers, Ph.D., of the Cincinatti Children's Hospital Medical Center. The study highlighted that biofeedback-assisted relaxation training could be efficiently and effectively integrated into the standard medical care provided to the many children who experience migraine headache.

###

For more information contact:
Kathy Stone (651) 695-2763

A neurologist is a medical doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 17,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its Web site at www.aan.com. For online neurological health and wellness information, visit NeuroVista at www.aan.com/neurovista.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.