An update on behavioral treatments in migraine - current knowledge and future options

Expert Rev Neurother. 2017 Nov;17(11):1059-1068. doi: 10.1080/14737175.2017.1377611. Epub 2017 Sep 19.


Besides pharmacological and interventional treatments a variety of non-medical therapeutic options exist for migraine, which has largely been derived from behavioral therapy. Areas covered: For our update we collected available studies via PubMed searches. This review highlights that already consulting of the patient is able to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. Relaxation techniques, especially progressive muscle relaxation, and various types of biofeedback are effective, as is the implementation of cognitive behavioral therapy. However, recent reviews also point to some existing inconsistencies and methodological limitations. The advent of modern information technology based approaches (e.g. online therapy, smartphone applications) further advanced the arsenal of behavioral treatment regimes. The combination of behavioral treatment options and the combination with pharmacotherapy lead to additive effects. In modern multidisciplinary treatment approaches, behavioral therapy is an indispensable component. Expert commentary: Behavioral treatment in prophylaxis of migraine is as effective as pharmacological treatment with additional effects when pharmacological and behavioral treatment is applied in combination. Novel treatment approaches using online technology and electronic devices offer interesting options that will spread more in the future.

Keywords: Relaxation; behavioral treatment; biofeedback; counselling; endurance sports; migraine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy*
  • Relaxation Therapy / methods*