Therapy, medication may be most effective for child migraine

Dec. 29, 2013 at 1:53 AM
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KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Psychological therapy plus medication appears to be the most effective treatment strategy for chronic migraine in children, U.S. researchers suggest.

Mark Connelly, a pain psychologist and co-director of the Comprehensive Headache Clinic at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., wrote in an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association that it might take time for the medical system to widely adopt this approach.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can include training in relaxation techniques and cognitive pain coping skills, as well as the use of biofeedback. It has shown to be a powerful addition to medication for addressing chronic migraine.

However, insurance reimbursement, limited staffing and lack of specific healthcare professional training are likely to stand in the way of its widespread use, Connelly said.

"Even if only half of young people with chronic migraine were able to complete cognitive behavioral therapy, the addition of more than 11 days per month of headache freedom per patient would have a huge impact," Connelly said in a statement.

Many of the affected children experience significant academic, physical and social impairment, yet they rarely receive adequate treatment.

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