Institute for Applied Epistemology and Medical Methodology, Freiburg, Germany.
Anthroposophic treatment for migraine is provided by physicians and includes special artistic and physical therapies and special medications. We conducted a prospective cohort study of 45 consecutive adult outpatients (89% women) starting anthroposophic treatment for migraine under routine conditions. Main outcomes were Average Migraine Severity (physician and patient ratings 0-10, primary outcome), Symptom Score (patient rating, 0-10), and quality of life (SF-36); main follow-up time point was after six months.
The anthroposophic treatment modalities used were medications (67% of patients), eurythmy therapy (38%), art therapy (18%), and rhythmical massage therapy (13%). Median therapy duration was 105 days. In months 0-6, conventional prophylactic antimigraine medications were used by 14% (n=5/36) of evaluable patients. From baseline to six-month follow-up, physician-rated Average Migraine Severity improved by 3.14 points (95% confidence interval 2.40-3.87, p<0.001); patient-rated Average Migraine Severity improved by 2.82 points (2.05-3.64, p<0.001); and Symptom Score improved by 2.32 points (1.68-2.95, p<0.001). In addition, three SF-36 scales (Social Functioning, Bodily Pain, Vitality), the SF-36 Physical Component summary measure, and the SF-36 Health Change item improved significantly. All improvements were maintained at last follow-up after 24 months. Patients not using conventional prophylactic antimigraine medications had improvements similar to the whole cohort.
Patients with migraine under anthroposophic treatment had long-term improvement of symptoms and quality of life. Although the pre-post design of the present study does not allow for conclusions about comparative effectiveness, study findings suggest that anthroposophic therapies may be useful in the long-term care of patients with migraine.
[PubMed - in process]
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Department of Neurology, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany. firstname.lastname@example.org
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasingly common in the treatment of primary headache disorders despite lack of evidence for efficacy in most modalities. A systematic questionnaire-based survey of CAM therapy was conducted in 432 patients who attended seven tertiary headache out-patient clinics in Germany and Austria. Use of CAM was reported by the majority (81.7%) of patients. Most frequently used CAM treatments were acupuncture (58.3%), massage (46.1%) and relaxation techniques (42.4%). Use was motivated by 'to leave nothing undone' (63.7%) and 'to be active against the disease' (55.6%). Compared with non-users, CAM users were of higher age, showed a longer duration of disease, a higher percentage of chronification, less intensity of headache, were more satisfied with conventional prophylaxis and showed greater willingness to gather information about headaches. There were no differences with respect to gender, headache diagnoses, headache-specific disability, education, income, religious attitudes or satisfaction with conventional attack therapy. A higher number of headache days, longer duration of headache treatment, higher personal costs, and use of CAM for other diseases predicted a higher number of used CAM treatments. This study confirms that CAM is widely used among primary headache patients, mostly in combination with standard care.
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. email@example.com
Migraine affects approximately 20% of the population. Conventional care for migraine is suboptimal; overuse of medications for the treatment of episodic migraines is a risk factor for developing chronic daily headache. The study of non-pharmaceutical approaches for prevention of migraine headaches is therefore warranted. Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a popular non-pharmacological approach to the treatment or prevention of migraine headaches for which there is limited evidence of safety and efficacy. In this paper, we describe an ongoing feasibility study to assess the safety and efficacy of CST in the treatment of migraine, using a rigorous and innovative randomized controlled study design involving low-strength static magnets (LSSM) as an attention control intervention.
The trial is designed to test the hypothesis that, compared to those receiving usual care plus a treatment with low-strength static magnets (attention-control complementary therapy), subjects receiving usual medical care plus CST will demonstrate significant improvement in: quality-of-life as measured by the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6); reduced frequency of migraine; and a perception of clinical benefit. Criteria for inclusion are either gender, age > 11, English or Spanish speaking, meeting the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) criteria for migraine with or without aura, a headache frequency of 5 to 15 per month over at least two years. After an 8 week baseline phase, eligible subjects are randomized to either CST or an attention control intervention, low strength static magnets (LSSM). To evaluate possible therapist bias, videotaped encounters are analyzed to assess for any systematic group differences in interactions with subjects.
169 individuals have been screened for eligibility, of which 109 were eligible for the study. Five did not qualify during the baseline phase because of inadequate headache frequency. Nineteen have withdrawn from the study after giving consent.
This report endorses the feasibility of undertaking a rigorous randomized clinical trial of CST for migraine using a standardized CST protocol and an innovative control protocol developed for the study. Subjects are able and willing to complete detailed headache diaries during an 8-week baseline period, with few dropouts during the study period, indicating the acceptability of both interventions.
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The Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Liverpool, UK.
Chronic tension-type headache (CTTH) is a disorder that evolves from episodic tension-type headache, with daily or very frequent episodes of headache lasting minutes to days. It affects 4.1% of the general population in the USA, and is more prevalent in women (up to 65% of cases). METHODS AND OBJECTIVES: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of drug treatments for chronic tension-type headache? What are the effects of non-drug treatments for chronic tension-type headache? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to October 2005 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 38 systematic reviews, RCTs or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: acupuncture, amitriptyline, benzodiazepines, botulinum toxin, cognitive behavioural therapy, Indian head massage, mirtazapine, regular acute pain relief medicate
on, relaxation and electromyographic biofeedback, serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants, and tricyclic antidepressants (other than amitriptyline).
[PubMed - in process]
Headache Clinic, INI Grottaferrata, Grottaferrata, Italy.
This study was undertaken to evaluate the rates, pattern, and presence of predictors of complementary and alternative medicine use in a clinical population of patients with chronic tension-type headache.
The use of complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of headaches is a growing phenomenon about which little is known.
A total of 110 chronic tension-type headache patients attending a headache clinic participated in a physician-administered structured interview designed to gather information on complementary and alternative medicine use.
Past use of complementary and alternative therapies was reported by 40% of the patients surveyed (22.7% in the previous year). Chronic tension-type headache patients prefer complementary and alternative practitioner-administered physical treatments to self-treatments, the most frequently used being chiropractic (21.9%), acupuncture (17.8%), and massage (17.8%). Only 41.1% of the patients perceived complementary and alternative therapies to be beneficial. The most common source of recommendation of complementary and alternative medicine was a friend or relative (41.1%). Most of the chronic tension-type headache patients used complementary and alternative treatment as a specific intervention for their headache (77.3%). Almost 60% of complementary and alternative medicine users had not informed their medical doctors of their use of complementary and alternative medicine. The most common reasons given for choosing to use a complementary or alternative therapy was the "potential improvement of headache" it offered (45.4%). The patients who had used more complementary and alternative treatments were found to be those recording a higher lifetime number of visits to conventional medical doctors, those with a comorbid psychiatric disorder, those enjoying a higher (household) income, and those who had never tried a preventive pharmacological treatment.
Our findings suggest that headache-clinic chronic tension-type headache patients, in their need of and quest for care, seek and explore both conventional and complementary and alternative therapies, even if only 41.1% of them perceived complementary treatments as effective. Physicians should be made aware of this patient-driven change in the medical climate in order to prevent misuse of health care resources and to be better equipped to meet patients' care requirements.
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]