Methods of relaxation procedures, including biofeedback, are the most effective ways to prevent migraine and tension headaches.
Biological feedback is carried out using external sensors that control the optimal degree of relaxation and give impulses to the patient’s muscles, which is graphically displayed on monitors or with the help of special thermometers that detect the slightest increase in body temperature upon the onset of optimal relaxation.
None of the relaxation technologies exceeds the others, although some patients have certain preferences. The course of treatment with biofeedback, which is conducted by a specially trained therapist, usually includes 12 treatment sessions, although 5-6 treatment sessions are equally effective with minimal participation by the therapist, if supplemented with daily sessions at home. Session skills should be developed daily.
For a patient, the acquired skills need not be applied regularly, but can be used only when necessary.
Relaxation training methods:
1. Visual images
2. Deep breathing technique
3. Progressive muscle relaxation
Relaxation and the biofeedback method have an efficiency comparable with standard methods of migraine prophylaxis and do not have any side effects. About 50-80% of patients justify the desire to learn this technique with marked relief from its use.
A recent study conducted a comparative evaluation of the effectiveness of a 6-month course of relaxation training in combination with biofeedback and propranolol in 192 patients with migraine. The frequency, duration, and intensity of headache decreased significantly equally in both groups.
After 6 months of treatment, the use of relaxation procedures at home and taking propranolol were discontinued in both groups. Relapse of headaches, i.e. an increase in the frequency of seizures by at least 50% was significantly more frequently observed in patients taking propranolol, which showed a longer prophylactic effect of non-drug treatment.
Probably, the greater effectiveness of relaxation training is due to the fact that even after the end of the course of treatment, patients, if necessary, continue to apply it themselves.