Migraine chronification

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2011 Apr;11(2):139-48. doi: 10.1007/s11910-010-0175-6.


Migraine is a disorder with variable natural history. In some sufferers, migraine evolves over time into a state of headaches on more days than not. This process of migraine chronification is poorly understood, but risk factors have been clearly identified. Herein, we first discuss the role of heritability and of genetic risk factors on migraine chronification. We follow with a discussion of the role of comorbid conditions and environmental exposures. We suggest that clinicians consider risk factor modification as part of migraine management, aspiring to not just relieve current pain and disability, but to avoid migraine progression. Reducing attack frequency, avoiding medication overuse, appropriately using preventive drugs and behavioral therapies, and encouraging weight loss should be part of migraine therapy to improve current pain and disability and also to avoid future pain and disability by preventing chronification.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease*
  • Disease Progression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology*
  • Migraine Disorders / genetics
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Risk Factors