Migraine is a debilitating disorder that is now recognized as a chronic illness, not simply a headache. The condition is associated with a great deal of pain and suffering as well as considerable economic consequences both to the patient and society in terms of healthcare costs and lost productivity. Migraines increase morbidity, limit daily activities, and affect the sufferer’s well-being. Migraine headaches affect approximately 30 million people in the United States, and 75% of migraine sufferers are women. Migraines may occur at any age, but they usually begin between the ages of 10 and 40 and diminish after age 50. Some people experience several migraines a month while others have only a few migraines in their lifetime. Headache is the most common pain complaint of human kind. It may represent a distinct syndrome without identified underlying pathology, known as a primary or benign headache, or it can be a symptom of an underlying disease, known as a secondary or organic headache. The number of different types of headaches and their associated causes, signs, and symptoms often make headaches difficult to treat. Most headaches can be treated effectively; however, despite its prevalence and availability of effective treatment, migraine headaches are still underdiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and even when identified, undertreated. The purpose of this research project was to explore the amount of supportive care provided to patients with migraine headaches. The theoretical framework used to guide this project was Jean Watson’s Caring Theory. Recommendations from this integrated literature review include the need for further research regarding the role of the Nurse Practitioner in providing supportive care to patients with migraine headaches. Conclusions are drawn and recommendations are made for Nurse Practitioners in the areas of nursing research, nursing theory, advanced practice nursing, nurse practitioner education, and health policy.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Brenda Smith

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons