Self-reported efficacy of complementary and alternative medicine: the Akershus study of chronic headache

J Headache Pain. 2013 Apr 18;14(1):36. doi: 10.1186/1129-2377-14-36.


Background: Chronic headache is associated with disability and high utilisation of health care including complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

Findings: We investigated self-reported efficacy of CAM in people with chronic headache from the general population. Respondents with possible self-reported chronic headache were interviewed by physicians experienced in headache diagnostics. CAM queried included acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, naprapathy, physiotherapy, psychological treatment, and psychomotor physiotherapy. Sixty-two % and 73% of those with primary and secondary chronic headache had used CAM.Self-reported efficacy of CAM ranged from 0-43% without significant differences between gender, headache diagnoses, co-occurrence of migraine, medication use or physician contact.

Conclusion: CAM is widely used, despite self-reported efficacy of different CAM modalities is modest in the management of chronic headache.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Complementary Therapies / methods*
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Headache Disorders / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Self Report