Researchers say an online interactive program can help people overcome chronic pain from migraine headaches.
A total of 185 participants completed a study which tested a free online program available at painACTION.com, a website designed to help people learn how to manage their pain. Compared to people in a control group, participants who used the website were more confident in their ability to manage headache pain and disability, and reported more use of coping strategies, including relaxation techniques and seeking social support. They also reported less migraine-related stress, depression and anxiety.
“A critical component of comprehensive migraine treatment is engaging the patient in self-management,” says lead researcher Jonas Bromberg, PsyD, Director of Health Communications at Inflexxion, the company that created painACTION.com with grants from the National Institutes of Health. “Self-management training should help patients learn how to identify, avoid, and manage headache triggers, and learn to perform other essential prevention, management, and coping behaviors.”
Migraine is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by moderate to severe headaches and nausea. Migraines are three times more common in women than in men. The exact cause is unknown. About a third of the people who suffer from migraines report an “aura” – a sensitivity to light and sound that often precedes a headache.
“PainACTION.com can be an important element of a comprehensive disease management approach,” says Kevin Zacharoff, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Inflexxion. “Many people with migraine may have limited access to expert behavioral and lifestyle-change support, or are reluctant to seek mental health services. Health care providers who refer their patients to painACTION.com can help meet a critical public health need by making behavioral support available in a more timely way for larger numbers of migraine patients.”
The study is being published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, the official publication of the American Headache Society.