Biofeedback and Self-regulation

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 533-541

First online:

Blood volume pulse biofeedback treatment of chronic cluster headache

  • Timothy J. HoelscherAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Memphis State University
  • , Kenneth L. LichsteinAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Memphis State University

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Behavioral interventions shown to be clinically effective in the treatment of migraine headache have generally not been employed for cluster headache. Herein, we report on the treatment of a severe case of chronic cluster headache with a common method of migraine treatment, temporal blood volume pulse (BVP) biofeedback. The patient was a 61-year-old male, medically diagnosed as suffering from chronic cluster headaches for over 20 years. Following an 18-day baseline, 14 BVP biofeedback sessions were conducted over a 7-week period. By the last 2 weeks of treatment, there was a 70% reduction in daily headache frequency and a 45% decrease in headache severity. Improvement was maintained at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 21 months follow-up. Large decreases in the consumption of migraine abortives, narcotic analgesics, and antiemetics were also observed. These encouraging results call for further evaluation of the efficacy of BVP biofeedback treatment of chronic cluster headache.

Descriptor Key Words

chronic cluster headache blood volume pulse biofeedback