Close up photo of headache tablets
Treating chronic headaches with hypnosis and biofeedback is more effective than drugs

Talking it out cuts the cost of migraine treatment

5 July, 2011

Treating chronic migraines with behavioural approaches such as relaxation training, hypnosis and biofeedback is as effective as – and cheaper – than taking drugs.

A new study from the University of Mississippi, published in the journal Headache has compared the costs over time of several types of behavioural treatments with prescription-drug treatments. It found that after six months, the cost of ‘minimal-contact’ behavioural treatment was competitive with pharmacologic treatment using drugs costing 50 cents (25 pence) or less a day.

Minimal-contact treatment is when a patient sees a therapist a few times but largely practices the behavioural techniques at home, aided by literature or audio recordings.

After one year, the minimal-contact method was nearly $500 [£250] cheaper than pharmacologic treatment.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Timothy Houle, the study’s lead investigator said: “We have a whole armamentarium of behavioural treatments and their efficacy has been proven. But headache sufferers are only getting a tip of these options.

“One reason is people think behavioural treatment costs a lot. Now with this study, we know that the costs are actually comparable, if not cheaper, in the long run.”