Tim Brunson DCH

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Psychological issues in the evaluation and treatment of tension-type headache.



Tension-type headache is the most common headache disorder, affecting approximately 40 % of Americans within a one-year span. Although the most common form, episodic tension-type headache, is rarely impairing, more frequent tension-type headache can occur with significant disability and psychological comorbidity. Appreciating the psychological impact, assessing the associated biopsychosocial issues, and understanding patients' coping styles are important in forming an appropriate treatment plan and maximizing treatment outcomes. A range of psychological therapies including relaxation training, cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback and mindfulness have demonstrated utility in treating chronic pain conditions and reducing the associated disability. This may be particularly applicable to special populations, including pediatric patients, pregnant patients and geriatric. Psychological assessment and treatment may be done conjointly with medication management and expands treatment options. There is great need to continue researching the effects of psychological treatments, standardizing interventions and making them available to the wider population.

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2012 Dec;16(6):545-53. doi: 10.1007/s11916-012-0301-z. Rosen NL. Hofstra North Shore LIJ Medical Center, 611 Northern Boulevard, Suite 150, Great Neck, NY, 11021, USA, noheadaches@gmail.com.

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