Investigators from Philipps-University of Marburg in Germany did a meta-analysis of the efficacy of biofeedback (BFB) in treating migraine. A computerized literature search of the databases Medline, PsycInfo, Psyndex and the Cochrane library, enhanced by a hand search, identified 86 outcome studies, of which 55 studies met the inclusion criteria.

A medium effect size (d =0.58, 95% CI=0.52, 0.64) resulted for all BFB interventions and proved stable over an average follow-up phase of 17 months. In addition, BFB was found to be more effective than control conditions. Strongest improvements were in frequency of migraine attacks and perceived self-efficacy. Blood-volume-pulse feedback yielded higher effect sizes than peripheral skin temperature feedback and electromyography feedback.

Moderator analyses revealed BFB in combination with home training to be more effective than therapies without home training. The influence of the meta-analytical methods on the effect sizes was systematically explored and the results proved to be robust across different methods of effect size calculation. Furthermore, there was no substantial relation between the validity of the integrated studies and the direct treatment effects. Finally, an intention-to-treat analysis showed that the treatment effects remained stable, even when drop-outs were considered as nonresponders.

Citation: Nestoriuc Y, Martin A. Efficacy of biofeedback for migraine: a meta-analysis. Pain. 2007 Mar; 128 (1-2): pages 111-27. Epub 2006 Nov 2 [email protected]