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01.12.2014 | Meeting abstract | Sonderheft 1/2014 Open Access

The Journal of Headache and Pain 1/2014

EHMTI-0162. Cognitive behavioural treatment for the chronic post-traumatic headache patient: a randomised controlled trial

The Journal of Headache and Pain > Sonderheft 1/2014
D Kjeldgaard Nielsen, H Forchhammer, TW Teasdale, RH Jensen


Chronic post-traumatic headache (CPTH) after mild head injury can be difficult to manage. Research is scarce and successful interventions are lacking.


To conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) exploring whether a group-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) intervention would lead to a relative decrease in headache, pain perception and psychological symptoms and an increase in quality of life in the study group compared to a waiting-list control group.


Ninety patients with CPTH according to ICHD-2 criteria were enrolled from the Danish Headache Center. Patients were randomly assigned to either a waiting- list group or to a nine-week CBT group intervention. At baseline and after 26 weeks all patients completed the Rivermead Post-concussion Questionnaire, SF-36, SCL-90-R (psychological distress) and a headache diary.


The CBT had no effect on headache and only a minor impact on the CPTH patients' quality of life, psychological distress, and the overall experience of symptoms. The waiting-list group had also unchanged headache but, opposed to the treatment group, a significant decrease in somatic and cognitive symptoms indicating a spontaneous remission over time.


Our primarily negative findings confirm that management of patients with CPTH still remains a considerable challenge. Psychological group therapy with CBT might be effective in an earlier stage of CPTH and in less severely affected patients. There is an urgent need for development of new treatment strategies and a need for randomized controlled studies to test the efficacy of psychological therapy for CPTH patients.
No conflict of interest.
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( https://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​4.​0), which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
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