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Help for Teen Migraines

<P>Help for Teen Migraines</P>

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The ability of behavioral therapies and biofeedback to control migraines is well established. Donald B. Penzien, PhD, is director of the head pain center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson.

"The behavioral kinds of treatments are targeted at helping you identify what are your trigger factors, what puts you at risk for this phenomenon called a migraine," Penzien tells WebMD. "Stress is a major trigger factor. If you can learn to control your response to stress you can avoid a lot of headaches. Behavioral interventions can be useful for migraine -- the evidence is as good as for any drug treatment. The average person with migraine might be able to avoid headaches if he or she practiced some of these techniques."

Cottrell says that it is unrealistic to think that most teens will spend 20 minutes a day practicing relaxation techniques. So she teaches them to relax when they can: to breathe deeply for a few minutes between classes and to sit at their desks and calm themselves for a few minutes.

She also recommends that teens look at their sleeping and eating habits. Regular sleep times and regular meal times often help prevent migraines, she says. And there's another thing that can help: parents' support.

"Listen to your children, believe them when they tell you they are in that much pain," Cottrell says. "Don't give up, parents. There safe treatments out there that can help."

Cottrell will present her findings in a June 21 report to the annual meeting of the American Headache Society.

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