Psychological treatment of headache has been recommended as a first line treatment of migraines and tension headaches. Since the most common trigger of migraines is stress, it only makes sense that psychological treatments would benefit. Migraines are a medical condition that are exacerbated by stress (psycho-physiological). They are also exacerbated by other behavioral issues, such as diet and sleep disturbance.
What to Expect Your First Visit
Your first visit consists of a psychological headache evaluation. Please bring your ID and insurance card with you. You will meet with a health psychologist for a full clinic interview to go over your headache, sleep, medical history, and how the headache is affecting your life. You will also complete a series of psychological tests. These are paper pencil tests in our office and there is no time limit. You may be mailed a packet of these tests prior to your appointment. If you could complete this packet and bring it to your evaluation, it would shorten the length of your appointment. There are other tests that will have to be completed in the office. Some of these tests have general psychological questions that may seem unusual. Please just answer them to your best ability. Please bring your reading glasses. If you have difficulty reading, we have some of tests on audio, or you could have a friend or family member assist you with the completion of the test.
The health psychologist will take the information from talking to you, your psychological testing, and your medical records to compile a psychological headache evaluation. This will include treatment recommendations for your benefit.
Treatment for headaches includes relaxation training, EMG and thermal biofeedback, stress management, headache management, cognitive behavioral treatment, and cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia. Since there is no cure for migraines, the goal is to improve the management of the symptoms by reducing the frequency and severity of headaches. Treatment usually involves 4-5 sessions of individual therapy and biofeedback (30 minutes each) lasting over the course of about 6-8 weeks.