The Use of Complemantary and Alternative Treatment in Headache Patients

  • Osman Korucu Kecioren Training and Research Hospital. Unıversity of Health Sciences. Neurology Department
  • Hüseyin Tuğrul Atasoy Department of Neurology, Bülent Ecevit University, School of Medicine.
  • Bekir Enes Demiryürek Department of Neurology, University of Health Sciences, Sakarya Education and Research Hospital.
  • Ufuk Emre Department of Neurology, University of Health Sciences, İstanbul Education and Research Hospital
  • Fatma Nida Taşçılar Department of Neurology, Istanbul Medipol University, School of Medicine
  • Banu Özen Barut Department of Neurology, University of Health Sciences, Kartal Dr. Lütfi Kırdar Education and Research Hospital.
Keywords: Headache, complementary treatment, alternative treatment


Objective: Complementary and alternative treatment methods (CAM) are used frequently for patient have primary headache patients and many studies investigate why it is used. Our aim is to determine reason of using CAM and application locations of CAM in our country. Methods: Two hundred patients who were diagnosed primary headache and accepted to participate in our study were enrolled. We investigate sociodemographic data, CAM usage frequency, preferred CAM, satisfaction rates, thought on CAM use, recommendation sources, whether medical treatment continues or not and reason of CAM usage. Results: The 26% of patients were using CAM and 55,7% of those using CAM were satisfied with the treatment. Patients using CAM were younger than those who did not use (p=0,033). Unemployed, students and all-day employees; single people and well-educated people were using CAM more often (p=0,042; p=0,026; p=0,009, respectively). The most frequent reason of CAM usage was 'effective treatment of headache of this treatment methods'. 85% of CAM users had also continued medical treatment. Conclusion: We found single and well-educated patients more likely candidate for CAM. High rates of CAM and medical treatment usage indicates that CAM only treatments are not generally accepted in our country.


Adams J, Barbery G, Lui CW. Complementary and alternative medicine use for headache and migraine: a critical review of the literature. J Head Face Pain. 2013;53:459–73.

Damapong P, Kanchanakhan N, Eungpinichpong W, Putthapitak P, Damapong P. A Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effectiveness of Court-Type Traditional Thai Massage versus Amitriptyline in Patients with Chronic Tension-Type Headache. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:930175.

von Peter S, Ting W, Scrivani S, et al. Survey on the use of complementary and alternative medicine among patients with headache syndromes. Cephalalgia 2002; 22.395–400.

Rossi P, Di Lorenzo G, Malpezzi MG, Faroni J, Cesarino F, Di Lorenzo C, Nappi G. Prevalence, pattern and predictors of use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in migraine patients attending a headache clinic in Italy. Cephalalgia 2005;25.493–506.

Rossi P, DiLorenzo G, Faroni J, Malpezzi MG, Cesarino F, Nappi G. Use of complementary and alternative medicine by patients with chronic tension-type headache: results of a headache clinic survey. Headache 2006;46.622-31.

Gaul C, Eismann R, Schmidt T, et al. Use of complementary and alternative medicine in patients suffering from primary headache disorders. Cephalalgia 2009;29,1069–78.

Ernst E, White A. The BBC survey of complementary medicine use in the UK. Complement Ther Med 2000;8.32–6.

Thomas KJ, Nicholl JP, Coleman P. Use and expenditure on complementary medicine in England: a population based survey. Complement Ther Med 2001;9,2–11.

Lambert TD, Morrison KE, Edwards J, Clarke CE. The use of complementary and alternative medicine by patients attending a UK headache clinic. Complement Ther Med (2010) 18, 128–34.

Karakurum Göksel B, Coskun Ö, Ücler S, et al. Use of complementary and alternative medicine by a sample of Turkish primary headache patients. Pain 2014;26:1-7

Wells RE, MD, MPH; Bertisch SM, MD, MPH; Buettner C, MD, MPH et al. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults With Migraines/Severe Headaches. Headache 2011;51,1087–97.

Rhee TG, Harris IM. Gender Differences in the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Their Association With Moderate Mental Distress in U.S. Adults With Migraines/Severe Headaches. Headache. 2017;57:97-108.

Rossi P,Torelli P,Di Lorenzo C,et al.Use of complementary and alternative medicine by patients with cluster headache: results of a multi-centre headache clinic survey. Complement Ther Med 2008;16:220-7.

Verhoef MJ, Balneaves LG, Boon HS,Vroegindewey A.Reasons for and characteristics associated with complementary and alternative medicine use among adult cancer patients:a systematic review. Integr CancerTher 2005;4:274-86.

Shaw A, Thompson EA, Sharp D.Complementary therapy use by patients and parents of children with asthma and the implications for NHS care: a qualitative study. BMC Health 2006;6:76.

Vukovic V, Plavec D, Huzjan AL, Budisic M, Demarin V. Treatment of migraine and tension-type headache in Croatia. J Headache Pain. 2010;11:227-34.

Thomas K,Coleman P.Use of complementary or alternative medicine in a general population in Great Britain.Results from the National Omnibus survey. J Public Health 2004;26: 152–7.

Artus M, Croft P, Lewis M. The use of CAM and conventional treatments among primary care consulters with chronic musculo skeletal pain BMC. Fam Pract 2007;8-26.

Original Research