Children Find Relief from Migraine through Biofeedback and Relaxation Training

St. Paul, Minn. – 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, 2001 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, PhD, 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.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 34,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit AAN.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Press Release Search

For More Information

Email Renee Tessman


Email Michelle Uher