To survey persons with migraine who use social media about Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) for the treatment of migraine.
CIM encompasses medical treatments that are not part of but are used in concert with mainstream medicine. Between 28 and 82% of people with migraine use non-drug approaches, and approximately 50% of people with migraine do not discuss non-drug treatments with their healthcare providers (HCPs). It is important for providers to be conversant with CIM treatments and the available evidence-based data. To further this effort, people with migraine were surveyed directly through social media to identify CIM practices in which they engage.
In collaboration with the American Migraine foundation (AMF) and Yakkety Yak, a digital marketing agency, we conducted a cross-sectional survey study. Participants were recruited from the Move Against Migraine (MAM) Facebook group which has 20,000+ members. The goals of the survey were to assess the attitudes toward CIM among this group, to identify which CIM modalities are being used and to determine what patients considered to be the most effective CIM modalities. While Yakkety Yak posted the survey link on the group page, the survey itself was hosted on Qualtrics, a confidential survey service.
372 MAM members (approximately 2%) responded to the questionnaire, of which 335 reported using CIM; between 114 and 139 (34-42%) found CIM modalities to be at least mildly effective. Of note, 164 (49%) reported using cannabis derivatives or cannabinoids, specifically with, 64/164 (39%) reporting that cannabis was not effective for them.
This study provides an initial investigation into the demographic and practice patterns of migraine patients who use CIM. While this sampling may not reflect CIM use across all individuals with migraine, it does strongly suggest the need for better education on the role of, and evidence for, CIM among headache care providers, and the need to ask patients specifically about their use of and interest in CIM.