A new study of 98 patients chose to either try Hypnotic Relaxation or medication (in the form of amitryptiline, an antidepressant known for alleviating headaches when taken in smaller doses). Patients who were already using more analgesics were more likely to opt for the medication option. Eleven of the patients initially choosing medication and 2 of the patients initially choosing hypnotic relaxation decided to try the other group during the trial.
Long-term adherence to treatment with Hypnotic Relaxation exceeded that of amitryptiline. At the end of the study period, 26 of 47 patients who tried Hypnotic Relaxation compared with 10 of 27 who tried amitryptiline decided to continue receiving their initial treatment. It wasn’t a ramdomised study as patients chose which group they wanted to be in.
The study concludes that the relaxation therapy was more popular choice, patients who tried this reported greater symptom relief than those choosing the medication and they were found to have greater treatment compliance.
Despite decades of research showing the effectiveness of non-pharmacological treatment of headaches, self-management or complementary methods like this are not commonly recommended by all GP’s yet.
Interestingly a number of patients at the clinic find osteopathy very relaxing and also find it beneficial if they are headache sufferers. Maybe research will show if there is a similar mechanism of action.
Hypnotic Relaxation vs Amitriptyline for Tension-type Headache: Let the Patient Choose. Ezra, Y; Gotkine, Marc et al. Headache. 2012;52(5):785-791. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing