Wednesday, January 23, 2008

CBT and headaches

A study into the use of psychological therapies to relieve headaches compared the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural therapy to that of temporal pulse amplitude (TPA) biofeedback training. In biofeedback training people are shown a visual representation of a physiological process e.g. heartbeat, blood pressure, brainwaves etc and asked to make a conscious effort to manipulate it in the right direction. The study found that CBT was highly effective with an average reduction of headaches from pre- to post- treatment of 68%, compared to 56% for biofeedback and 20% for a control group. Headaches continued to decrease up to a 12 month follow-up period for the CBT group. Improvement with CBT was associated with people's level of coping skills at the start of the study, their social support and physiological measures at rest and in response to stress.

Martin, Paul R., Forsyth, Michael R. and Reece, John - Cognitive-behavioural therapy versus temporal pulse amplitude biofeedback training for recurrent headache. Behavior Therapy December 2007, 38(4), 350-363

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