Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 489-499

First online:

Behavioral interventions for tension-type headache: Overview of current therapies and recommendation for a self-management model for chronic headache

  • Donald B. PenzienAffiliated withHead Pain Center, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • , Jeanetta C. Rains
  • , Gay L. Lipchik
  • , Thomas L. Creer

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Behavioral treatments (relaxation, biofeedback, cognitivebehavioral therapy) have been empirically validated for migraine and tension-type headaches, with recent metaanalyses yielding 37% to 50% reductions in tension-type headache, comparing favorably with 33% reduction from medication prophylaxis (amitriptyline). Research has moved toward increasing availability and cost effectiveness through alternative delivery formats and combining and comparing them with standard medications. Further modifications would make standard behavioral treatments available and conducive to primary care settings where most patients receive treatment. Beyond the current behavioral and drug treatments, we propose a fundamental shift in conceptualization and treatment for headache.