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Relaxation Treatment of Adolescent Headache
Sufferers: Results from a School-Based Replication Series
Bo Larsson MD; Jane Carlsson PhD; et al.
Posted: August 2005  
Headache 2005;45:692-704

Background:   In recent reviews of psychological and drug treatment, relaxation training approaches have been found to be efficacious for children and adolescents suffering from recurrent tension-type headache (TTH), while biofeedback procedures provide effective help for migraine headache sufferers, primarily treated in tertiary clinics.

Objective:   In a school-based replication series, the effectiveness and efficiency of relaxation training provided within school settings were examined, in addition to the effects on various headache features and the maintenance of treatment gains at a 6 to 10-month follow-up.

Methods:   Over a 20-year period, 288 adolescents aged 10 to18 years participated in seven randomized, controlled trials conducted within regular school health service settings. Subjects were included if they had suffered from frequent migraine or TTHs, or from both headache types for at least 1 year. Various formats of standardized relaxation training procedures were contrasted to different attention-control approaches of self-monitoring of headaches in prospective diary recordings.

Conclusions:   Therapist-assisted relaxation training is an effective treatment for adolescents suffering from frequent TTHs or migraine. However, such treatment administered by school nurses administered within school health care settings is an efficient treatment approach for adolescents suffering from the most common form of primary headache, i.e., TTHs.