Teens have practically the same rate of migraines as adults, but there are not clinically accepted guidelines for teen treatment to the same extent as for adults. Now a new study shows that clinical treatment for teens with migraines should include not only drug treatment, but perhaps cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as well.

group of teens walking and smiling Study Investigates Effectiveness of Combining Treatment

CBT is sometimes used as a second-line treatment for teens. In this treatment, teens see a counselor about their migraine pain and are given coping strategies, including incorporating biofeedback into their response to a migraine.

However, researchers suggested that this shouldn’t be used as a second-line treatment, but should be initiated at the same time as drug therapy. To test this suggestion, they tested 135 patients between the ages of 10 and 15 who had migraines more than 15 days a month with a headache and a Pediatric Migraine Disability Assessment Score (PedMIDAS) greater than 20 points. Individuals were assigned to either a CBT group (n=64) or a headache education group (n=71).

The CBT group showed marked improvement in their migraine over the headache education group. Comparing the CBT group to the education group, there was:

  • Headache days per month reduced 11.5 days for CBT vs. 6.8 for education
  • 86% saw a 50% or more reduction in days with headache vs. 69%
  • 88% vs. 76% had little or no disability from migraines

As a result, researchers suggested that teens with migraines should be given more access to this type of treatment.

Toward a Drug-Free Migraine Treatment

Ideally, we should be trying to achieve drug-free migraine treatment for all migraine sufferers, including teens. Drugs come with side effects, many of them serious, and once people start drug therapy, it is hard to stop it. TMJ treatment can reduce the severity and frequency of migraines, and, combined with other treatments, it may represent a good alternative to drug treatment.

To learn more about how TMJ treatment may help your migraines, please call (303) 691-0267 at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado in Denver.