Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Metzger, Jay


Migraine Prophylaxis, Migraine Complementary Medicine, Migraine Acupuncture, Migraine Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Migraine Botulinum Toxin, Migraine Prevention, and Migraine Treatment


Migraine headache is a common, universal neurological disorder that can be complicated to treat. Despite the wide availability of treatments used as prophylactic agents against migraines, outcomes have been inconsistent, and a number of patients do not respond to prophylactic medications. Therefore, it is important to investigate new non-pharmacological modalities accompanied with less adverse effects and maximal efficacy. To determine if complementary medicine modalities such as acupuncture, botulinum toxin-A, or cognitive behavioral therapy can be as effective as traditional pharmacotherapy for the treatment of migraines, a literature review was completed using meta-analyses and clinical trial reviews. Despite the fact there are no studies that have specifically evaluated the research question posed, the compilation of many studies provides some cumulative data. Current literature suggests that pharmacotherapy remains the standard treatment for migraine headaches. Complementary medicine should be considered as an alternative or adjunct therapy and can be used in patients who experience undesirable side effects from pharmacotherapy, or rather have contraindications or intolerance of drug classes. Given the prevalence of migraines, applying this research with clinical application could help providers relay the best individualized treatment options for patients when it comes to managing chronic migraines. Current research regarding complementary medicine does show promise; however, more research still needs to be done in order to place complementary medicine as an equivalent treatment to pharmacotherapy.