Video Call May Be as Good as Doctor Visit for Headache

Telemedicine offers a convenient alternative for sufferers, study authors say

WEDNESDAY, June 14, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Seeing a neurologist via video conference may be as effective as an in-person visit for people with headaches, researchers say.

The new study included just over 400 headache patients in Norway who were referred by their primary care doctor to see a neurologist.

Half of the patients had an in-person appointment with a neurologist, while the others consulted with the specialist via video conference -- also known as "telemedicine."

At the study's start, three months later and again after a year, the patients completed surveys about their pain and the impact of their headaches on daily life. No differences were found between people who had traditional office visits and those treated through video, the researchers said.

"Headache is the most common neurologic disorder, yet is often not diagnosed or people don't receive adequate treatment," study author Dr. Kai Muller said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology. Muller is a professor in the Arctic University of Norway's department of clinical medicine.

"New technology is available to diagnose and treat people through telemedicine, but few studies have looked at whether it is effective for people with headache," Muller added.

The study findings suggest that telemedicine may be valuable for headache sufferers who want to see a specialist without extra hassle or inconvenience, he said.

The findings were published online June 14 in the journal Neurology.

More information

The National Headache Foundation has more on headache.

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, news release, June 14, 2017

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