Nonpharmacologic treatment of migraine

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2005 Jun;9(3):202-5. doi: 10.1007/s11916-005-0063-y.


Nonpharmacologic treatment of migraine is often used by patients and can provide interesting options for physicians. Knowledge about the evidence and its absence is important. Avoidance of trigger factors can help, if individualized. Behavioral approaches, such as relaxation techniques, biofeedback, and cognitive-behavioral therapy, require far more specialist time or technical devices, but are supported by some evidence, which is mostly old. The same is true for hypnosis. A new approach in migraine prevention is aerobic exercise, which is associated with positive side effects. Whether it will take a strong role, similar to the treatment of depression, remains to be seen. There is no convincing evidence for the efficacy of spinal manipulation. Hyperbaric oxygen may be an effective, but rarely practical prophylactic measure. The evidence pertaining to the efficacy of acupuncture is controversial because of methodologic difficulties, but an ongoing large German study may provide valuable evidence in the near future. Nutritional supplements acting on mitochondrial metabolism, such as magnesium, riboflavin, and coenzyme Q10, were shown to be effective in small, randomized, controlled trials. More studies on the different therapeutic interventions are needed, using modern diagnostic standards and state-of-the-art trial methodology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Biofeedback, Psychology
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation
  • Manipulation, Spinal
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy*