Long-term efficacy of combined relaxation: biofeedback treatments for chronic headache
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Thirty-four patients having chronic idiopathic headaches participated in a long-term study comparing autogenic relaxation training alone (REL) with combinations of relaxation and electromyographic biofeedback (REL + EMG) or relaxation and temperature biofeedback (REL + TEMP). Assignment to treatment conditions was balanced on demographics and clinical characteristics, as well as headache classification according to muscle contraction or vascular headache symptomatology. The results indicate that REL + TEMP produced no additional improvements over REL following the 8-week treatment program, or at 6-month, or 12-month follow-up. However, REL + EMG produced significantly greater reductions in headache activity measures than the REL and REL + TEMP conditions at all post-treatment time points. Headache activity continued to improve over the follow-up period independent of treatment condition. These data indicate that EMG biofeedback augments long-term clinical improvements in headache patients who undergo autogenic relaxation training.
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