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The objective of this study was to gain insight into the patients' decision-making for migraine and chronic daily headache management. Patients were recruited by theoretical sampling in Surrey (UK). Semi-structured and tape-recorded interviews (n = 13) were conducted, transcribed verbatim, coded and analysed according to the grounded theory methodology. Thirteen patients (8 migraine and 5 chronic daily headache) described their management. All patients employed multiple behaviours to manage their headaches. From the patients' descriptions emerged their decision-making. Based on experience, perceptions and new information, the decision-making process involved four stages: headache severity, evaluation, decision making and behaviours. Although the participants were passive with regards to certain management strategies, overall they were actively involved in treating and preventing their headaches. Furthermore, they were active decision-makers in choosing appropriate management. Migraine and chronic daily headache patients are actively involved in managing their headaches. They are key decision-makers and should not be overlooked as a resource for effective management.

Original publication




Journal article


Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache

Publication Date





833 - 841


European Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, UK.


Humans, Headache Disorders, Decision Making, Adult, Middle Aged, Patient Participation, Disease Management, Female, Male, Migraine Disorders