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What Works for Tension Type Headaches

13 May

Researchers from the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, examined the efficacy of CAM (complementary and alternative) therapies, including mind-body techniques, acupuncture and physical treatments for tension type headaches.
The investigators noted that while pharmacotherapy with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and tricyclic antidepressants comprise the traditional treatment of tension-type headaches (TTH), the use of other therapeutic approaches, in combination with medications, can increase the success of treatment.

The assumption was that especially patients with comorbid mood disorders and frequent headaches might benefit from some of these nonpharmacologic approaches.

A review of the literature revealed that EMG biofeedback (BFB) is effective in the treatment of tension type headaches, and that cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation training may also be beneficial.

Evidence was just too limited to provide much learning about the effects of both physical therapy and acupuncture.  The investigators reported that these modalities may be considered in patients with frequent headaches of this sort, but that the scientific basis does not reveal much at this point.

Citation:  Sun-Edelstein C, Mauskop A. Complementary and alternative approaches to the treatment of tension-type headache. Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2012 Dec;16 (6):pp 539-44. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.%20" title="">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award