Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 78-82

Behavioural management of migraine


1 Clinical Psychology Doctorate Programme, Plymouth University, Plymouth, United Kingdom
2 Department of Neuropsychology, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, United Kingdom
3 Department of Neurology, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Stuart Weatherby
Department of Neurology, Level 10 Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, PL6 8DH
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.100018

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It is important to recognise that migraine is a 'biological' and not a 'psychological' entity. However, psychological factors can be involved in migraine in 4 different ways:- 1) Migraines can be triggered by psychological stressors; 2) Severe migraine can itself be a cause of significant psychological stress which can, in turn, exacerbate the problem; 3) Even if psychological stress is not significantly involved in the genesis of the headache, pain management techniques can help people cope with their pain more effectively; 4) Longitudinal data demonstrate a complex bidirectional association between mood disorders and migraine. Treatment of a co-existing mood disorder, for example with cognitive behavioural techniques, may therefore reduce the impact of migraine. It would thus appear logical to view medical and psychological approaches as potentially synergistic rather than mutually exclusive. Functional imaging indicates that cognition, emotions, and pain experiences change the way the brain processes pain inputs. This may provide a physiological rationale for psychological interventions in pain management. As most studies of psychological management of migraine have been relatively small and the approach often varies between clinicians, the magnitude of benefit, optimum method of delivery, and the length of intervention are uncertain.


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