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Not Many Migraine Patients Are Referred for Behavioral Therapy: Study

Update Date: Jun 21, 2012 07:14 PM EDT

Behavioral treatments can provide a lot of relief for migraine patients. However, people are often not referred to the therapy, a new study has found.

The researchers surveyed members of the American Headache Society in order to assess their knowledge about the use of behavioral treatments for migraine.

Behavioral treatments have "Grade A" evidence of effectiveness, and according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, "Grade A" means there is "high certainty" the benefits of a treatment outweigh the risks.

However, the study results found that there were very few specialists who referred their patients to behavioral treatments, lead author Robert Nicholson, of Mercy Health Research in St. Louis, said in a headache society news release.

"Reasons may include both a lack of knowledge about the value of such treatment as much as a lack of available referral services in local communities," he added.

The researchers found that only 25 percent of headache specialists referred their patients to non-drug treatments like stress management, relaxation training and psychotherapy.

"Behavioral therapies are often helpful for conditions other than migraine, such as anxiety or depression, and they are typically well-tolerated. They offer a broad range of benefits and a narrower range of harms than most drug treatments for headache," American Headache Society president Dr. Elizabeth Loder noted in the news release.

More about migraine can be read here.

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