Reframing the Communication of Lifestyle Changes for Migraine Management: Elizabeth Seng, PhD


The associate professor at Yeshiva University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine explored the challenge of discussing lifestyle changes for patients with migraine, noting that lifestyle modifications can be a valuable addition to migraine treatment. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

“We think that people with migraine have a disease that is largely genetic, where their brains are a little bit more sensitive to changes and differences in their environment. One of those things is sedentary behavior and lack of physical activity. So, things that are healthy for everybody tend to be even more important and even more beneficial for people with migraine.”

Migraine is a highly prevalent disorder that has an enormous burden for the patients living with the condition. Currently, there are different types of treatments available for patients which can be used to control both acute attacks and prevention. The triggers of a migraine attack can include environmental factors, sleep pattern changes, diet, physical activity, stress and anxiety, some treatments, and hormonal changes. In managing migraine, nonpharmacological approaches are recommended and research shows that using a combination of pharmacological and nonpharmacological approaches is even more effective than using each separately.1

This type of treatment approach was discussed at the 2023 AHS Annual Meeting, held June 15-18, in Austin, Texas, during the Seymour Solomon Award Lecture titled "All Migraine Management is Behavior." The talk, given by Elizabeth K. Seng, PhD, associate professor, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University, covered the different behaviors that play a key part in migraine management, including communication between both the patients and providers for treatment plans.2

Recently, Seng sat down with NeurologyLive® to discuss how healthcare providers can effectively communicate the benefits of lifestyle changes to their patients with migraine without making them feel responsible for their condition. She talked about the role that lifestyle adjustments play in the overall treatment plan for migraine, and how they compare with traditional medical interventions. Additionally, Seng spoke about how healthcare professionals can determine which lifestyle changes are suitable for the individual with migraine based on their preferences and tolerances.

Click here for more coverage of AHS 2023.

1. Haghdoost F, Togha M. Migraine management: Non-pharmacological points for patients and health care professionals. Open Med (Wars). 2022;17(1):1869-1882. Published 2022 Nov 23. doi:10.1515/med-2022-0598
2. Seng EK. Seymour Solomon Award Lecture: All Migraine Management is Behavior. Presented at: 2023 AHS Annual Meeting; June 15-18; Austin, TX.
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