Brief summary of evidence supporting the efficacy of biofeedback for headache

There are simply too many studies to note even a fraction of them. Yucha and Gilbert (2004) and Sherman (2004) reviewed the studies supporting efficacy of this therapy and found a plethora of fine work ranging from double blind controlled studies to clinical studies. Comparative studies show that biofeedback is as good or better than any medication. Long term follow-up studies show that the treatments last for most people as long as they continue to practice the techniques learned during therapy. People who had biofeedback therapy were more likely to continue to use it than people taking any particular medication were likely to continue taking that medication. Pain from jaw problems is treated effectively if the pain is due to problems in the muscles but not if the problem is in the jaw joint itself.

Studies do not support the efficacy of biofeedback for all kinds of headaches. The evidence supporting its use with migraines brought on by trauma, cluster headaches, and menstrual headaches is much weaker. There is no evidence supporting its effectiveness for trigeminal neuralgia, jaw joint problems, etc.

Efficacy of biofeedback for migraine: A meta-analysis by Yvonne Nestoriuc, Alexandra Martin of Philipps-University of Marburg, Section for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Gutenbergstr. 18,35032 Marburg, Germany; published in Pain 128: 111 - 127, 2007.

The authors reviewed the publications on the use of temperature, muscle tension, and pulse biofeedback for migraine. By combining data from similar studies, they were able to confirm that biofeedback is highly efficacious in the treatment of migraine relative to various types of controls.

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