Targeted Group Education for Chronic Headache in Adolescents

Teenagers in a group education program
Teenagers in a group education program
Researchers reviewed survey results to determine whether adolescents with chronic headache might benefit from either a 1-time comprehensive evaluation and management plan or standard care.

Targeted group education of adolescents with chronic headaches can reduce the frequency of headache occurrence, according to research published in Headache.

Researchers from the San Antonio Military Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, conducted a retrospective chart review of 155 adolescents (age, 12-17 years) who had at least 3 months of chronic headaches.

Study participants received a 90-minute face-to-face headache education class, followed by the administration of a pen and paper intake questionnaire. Survey results were reviewed to determine whether the participant might benefit from either a 1-time comprehensive headache evaluation and management plan or standard care.

Primary study outcome was the number of self-reported days with headache in the 30 days between baseline survey and follow-up, assessed through single-question patient recall.

More than 73% of the study participants were girls; 69.8% suffered from migraine headaches. Of those who reported severe headache-related disability (40.6%), the most common negative effect was reported in regard to activities (76.1%), followed by social life and family relationships (61.9% and 49.4%, respectively).

An average headache frequency of 19±10.5 days in the previous 30 days was reported. Participants in the headache class experienced a decrease of 11.5±11.9 headache days (t=11.45; P <.001). Those with the most severe headache-related history at baseline had the highest reduction in the number of headache days.

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“Focused group education on headache types, guidelines for evaluation and treatment, and management of headache triggers…demonstrates promise as a low-cost and effective treatment option for adolescents with chronic headaches,” the researchers concluded.

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Ormond A, Faux BM, Zickefoose BA, Aden J, Kaupman PE, Roberts TA. Group education and multidisciplinary management for chronic headaches among adolescents in a military treatment facility: A retrospective chart review [published online February 7, 2018]. Headache. doi:10.1111/head.13274

This article originally appeared on Neurology Advisor