Headache is one of the most prevalent investigated complaints in the neurology clinics and is the most common pain-related complaint worldwide. Stress is a significant factor that causes and triggers headaches. Since healthcare practitioners experience a lot of stress in their careers, they are more prone to headaches.
This study was designed to evaluate and compares the efficacy of neurofeedback behavioural therapy (NFB) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) in the treatment of primary headaches in healthcare providers.
The current study was a clinical trial, performed in Teheran, IR Iran, with two experimental groups and a control group. Convenient sampling method was used to recruit patients. Independent variables were NFB and TENS and dependent variables were frequency, severity, and duration of headache. Blanchard headache diary was used for assessment. Hence, 45 healthcare providers with primary headache were selected and randomly allocated to one of the NFB, TENS, and control groups by block random assignment method. All three groups completed the headache diary during one week before and after the treatment period as pretest and posttests, respectively. The NFB group was treated in the period between pretest and posttest with fifteen 30-minute treatment sessions three times a week and the TENS group was treated with fifteen 20-minute daily sessions. The control group received none of these treatments.
The results from the analysis of covariance showed that treatment with NFB and TENS had caused significant decrease in the frequency, severity, and duration of headache in experimental groups. The results of the LSD post-hoc test indicated that there were significant differences in the frequency, severity, and duration of pain among experimental groups and the control group. Moreover, there were significant differences between pain frequencies in experimental groups.
According to the results and given the significant reductions in the frequency, severity, and duration of headaches, it seems that NFB and TENS might have an effective role in reducing primary headaches of healthcare providers. In addition, comparing the two methods, treatment with NFB was more effective in reducing headache frequency and severity.