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"It's a balance between letting it influence life completely and not letting it influence life at all" - a qualitative study of migraine prevention from patients' perspective

Journal article
Authors Emma Varkey
Mattias Linde
Ingela Henoch
Published in Disability and Rehabilitation
Volume 35
Issue 10
Pages 835-844
ISSN 0963-8288
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Pages 835-844
Language en
Keywords Experiences, headache, migraine, prevention, prophylaxis, chronic daily headache, patients perceptions, chronic illness, fear-avoidance, self-efficacy, of-life, prophylaxis, management, burden, pain
Subject categories Neurosciences, Neurology, Nursing


Purpose: The aim of this study was to elucidate migraine prevention from a patient perspective. Method: Twenty-one participants who suffered from migraine were interviewed and the data analysed by means of qualitative content analysis. Results: The analysis revealed two categories; Avoiding migraine triggers and introducing migraine inhibiting strategies. In both categories, decisions were influenced by an appraisal of the advantages versus disadvantages, attitudes, support and knowledge. An overarching theme: “migraine prevention from the patients’ perspective is a balance between letting it influence life completely and not letting it influence life at all” was identified from the interviews. Conclusions: As migraine is a chronic disorder that cannot be cured, merely relieved, prevention is of great importance. The present study highlights migraine prevention from the patients’ perspective and the important issue of how much prevention is allowed to influence life. Either of the directions involves a risk that life can be controlled by migraine. Acceptance of the disease and allowing migraine prevention to influence life to some degree can be a way of regaining control.

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