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Behavioral Treatments for Migraine Management: Useful at Each Step of Migraine Care


Migraine is a disabling and prevalent disorder. Migraine is most effectively treated with a stepped care approach, where patients initially receive a broad level of care (primary care) and proceed to receive increasingly specialized care throughout the course of treatment. Behavioral treatments for migraine modify behaviors of people with migraine with the intention to prevent migraine episodes and secondary consequence of migraine. Behavioral treatments can be incorporated into each level of the stepped care approach for migraine treatment. In this article, we provide a rationale for including behavioral treatment strategies in the treatment of migraine. We then describe and review the evidence for behavioral treatment strategies for migraine, including patient education, relaxation strategies, biofeedback, and cognitive behavioral treatment strategies. Finally, we describe how behavioral treatments can be integrated into a stepped care approach for migraine care.

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Conflict of Interest

Alexandra B. Singer declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Dawn C. Buse has received consultancy fees and paid travel accommodations from Allergan Pharmaceuticals, grants from Allergan, the National Headache Foundation, Novartis, and Teva/NuPathe, and payment for manuscript preparation from the National Headache Foundation.

Elizabeth K. Seng has received honoraria payments from the Headache Cooperative of New England and paid travel accommodations from the International Headache Academy.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Correspondence to Alexandra B. Singer or Elizabeth K. Seng.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Headache

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Singer, A.B., Buse, D.C. & Seng, E.K. Behavioral Treatments for Migraine Management: Useful at Each Step of Migraine Care. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 15, 14 (2015).

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  • Migraine
  • Behavioral treatment
  • Psychological treatment
  • Integrative medicine
  • Multidisciplinary care
  • Relaxation
  • Biofeedback
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Patient education
  • Stepped care
  • Communication
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Adherence