Stigma and Migraine: Developing Effective Interventions

Simy K. Parikh, Joanna Kempner, William B. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Migraine and other primary headache disorders do not receive adequate research funding, medical resources, or other forms of structural support relative to their prevalence and the disability they cause. In recent research, scholars have argued that stigma associated with headache disorders explains some of this discrepancy. This review will discuss (1) the factors contributing to stigma toward migraine and other primary headache disorders, (2) how structural and enacted stigma may perpetuate individual disability, (3) the impact of internalized stigma, and (4) interventions to mitigate stigma toward headache disorders with an emphasis on outcome monitoring. The review will also propose new areas of stigma research in need of further investigation. Recent Findings: Recent research shows that discrimination can exacerbate chronic pain. Summary: Stigma profoundly affects everything from the allocation of federal research funds and healthcare resources to individual patients’ self-efficacy and ability to care for themselves. Understanding the stigma of migraine and learning how to develop effective interventions to mitigate this stigma will increase access to appropriate migraine care, improve healthcare providers’ ability to care for their migraine patients, and help advocates reverse policies that discriminate against those with migraine. It is important to closely monitor outcomes of anti-stigma efforts for both positive and negative consequences and take note of outcomes and “lessons learned” from anti-stigma campaigns for other diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number75
JournalCurrent Pain and Headache Reports
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


  • Discrimination
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Stereotypes
  • Stigma
  • Stigmatization


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