Multimodal behavioral treatment of migraine: An Internet-administered, randomized, controlled trial

  • Kerstin Hedborg Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Health and Caring Sciences, University of Gävle, Sweden; and Department of Medical Sciences, Neurology, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Carin Muhr Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
Keywords: Cognitive behavioral treatment, hand massage, Internet, migraine, multimodal, stress


Introduction. Multimodal approaches in behavioral treatment have gained recent interest, with proven efficacy for migraine. The utility of the Internet has been demonstrated for behavioral treatment of headache disorders, but not specifically for migraine. The aim of the study was to develop and evaluate an Internet-based multimodal behavior treatment (MBT) program for migraine and to test hand massage treatment as an adjunct.

Methods. Eighty-three adults, 58 women and 25 men, with at least two migraine attacks a month were recruited via advertisements. An MBT program aiming at improvements in life-style and stress coping was developed for this study and, together with a diary, adapted for use over the Internet. Participants were randomized to MBT with and without hand massage and to a control group, and were followed for 11 months. Questionnaires addressing issues of quality of life (PQ23) and depressive symptoms (MADRS-S) were used.

Results. A 50%, or greater, reduction in migraine frequency was found in 40% and 42% of participants of the two groups receiving MBT (with and without hand massage, respectively), who statistically were significantly more improved than participants in the control group. No effect of hand massage was detected, and gender did not show any independent contribution to the effect in a multivariate analysis.

Conclusions. MBT administered over the Internet appears feasible and effective in the treatment of migraine, but no effect of hand massage was found. For increased knowledge on long-term effects and the modes of action of the present MBT program, further studies are needed.


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How to Cite
Hedborg K., & Muhr C. (2011). Multimodal behavioral treatment of migraine: An Internet-administered, randomized, controlled trial. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 116(3), 169–186.
Original Articles