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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

E Varkey, M Linde, I Henoch
Disability and Rehabilitation 2013, 35 (10): 835-44
22992052

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.

IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION: • Migraine prevention from the patients' perspective is described as a balance between letting it influence life completely and not letting it influence life at all, which in either direction can lead to a life controlled by migraine. • To take the patients' perspectives of the illness in consideration as well as finding the most suitable treatment, based on an appraisal of individual advantages versus disadvantages is important to meet the need of the patient and to improve migraine prevention. Increased knowledge about migraine prevention is imperative both in health care and for the individual patient. Support during prevention is requested by patients.

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