Objective: To determine if migraineurs with aura respond differently to biofeedback/relaxation than those without aura and, if so, whether the variability in outcome can be explained by blood flow velocity. Background.-The relationship between cerebral blood flow velocity and treatment response to biofeedback/relaxation in migraine with and without aura is uncertain.
Method: Twenty migraineurs underwent 12 sessions of biofeedback/relaxation therapy, while 20 controls simply were told to relax on their own. Cerebral blood flow velocity was measured bilaterally in the middle cerebral artery with transcranial Doppler.
Results: The biofeedback group showed significant (P <.05) reductions in pain, depression, and anxiety compared to the control group. Patients with and without aura did equally well. There were significant (P <.05) left to right blood flow velocity differences only in the migraine with aura group. Maximum blood flow velocities were significantly higher (P <.05) in the migraine with aura group than in the cohort without aura. There was an inverse correlation between indicators of anxiety and blood flow velocity, perhaps related to hyperventilation-induced constriction in the small vessels distal to the middle cerebral artery.
Conclusion: The positive treatment response to biofeedback/relaxation in migraine headache is not related to presence of aura, nor to changes in blood flow velocity, but may be associated with reduction in anxiety and depression.