Open Access

The patients’ perceptions of migraine and chronic daily headache: a qualitative study

  • M. Peters1,
  • H. Huijer Abu-Saad1, 2,
  • V. Vydelingum1Email author,
  • A. Dowson3 and
  • M. Murphy1
The Journal of Headache and Pain20056:144

Received: 9 March 2004

Accepted: 19 October 2004

Published: 25 January 2005


This study aimed to gain insight into the management of migraine and chronic daily headache (CDH) from the patients’ perspective. This article outlines the patients’ perceptions of migraine and chronic daily headache. Thirteen semi–structured interviews were carried out with patients suffering from IHS migraine. Five patients, due to their headache frequency of more than 15 headache days per month, were classed as CDH patients. The data were transcribed verbatim and analysed in accordance with the grounded theory methodology. The main themes were: headaches, impact and headaches related to health issues. The theme ‘headaches’ was sub-divided into ‘their pain and symptoms’, ‘differentiating between their headaches’ and ‘perceptions of headaches as barriers and facilitators to management’. The patients’ perceptions of migraine and CDH were sometimes conflicting and influenced the patients’ management behaviours. The qualitative methodology may help to inform doctors, other healthcare professionals and headache researchers about the patients’ perspective and possibly develop future headache research, care and education.

Key words

MigraineChronic daily headachePatientPerceptions