Collaborative Medical and Behavioral Health Treatment of Patients with Migraine Headache

  • Beverly E. Thorn
  • Gary R. Kilgo
  • Laura Pence
  • Mary Kilgo

Behavioral health treatments for headache are based on the conceptualization that headache is a psychophysiologic disorder. Psychophysiologic disorders are physical disorders that are influenced by stressors in a person’s environment. When patients seek medical care for their headaches they often feel overwhelmed by the impact of their condition on their lives. Many feel as if they have failed because they cannot control their headaches, and often patients feel as if their lives are being ruined. These patients dare not make plans for fear of being unable to follow through with them, resulting in increasing isolation, impaired productivity, and family and occupational stress. These patients seek an explanation for uncontrollable headaches, sometimes fearing the worst possible prognosis, or being unable to accept reassurance following a thorough diagnostic workup Given the disruptive nature of chronic headaches on patients’ lives, it follows that, in addition to receiving standard medical care, patients need to learn skills to cope with the multiple resultant stressors. Behavioral health treatments involve attention to a patient’s behaviors, emotions, and cognitions related to the headaches and associated stressors.


Chronic Headache Beck Anxiety Inventory Automatic Thought Pain Catastrophizing Scale Negative Automatic Thought 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beverly E. Thorn
    • 1
  • Gary R. Kilgo
    • 2
  • Laura Pence
    • 3
  • Mary Kilgo
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.Kilgo Headache ClinicNorthportUSA
  3. 3.University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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