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Papers of the Week

2022 Jan

J Integr Complement Med



Predictors of Headache/Migraine and the Use of Complementary Medicine in U.S. Children: A Population-Based Analysis of 2017 National Health Interview Survey Data.


This study set out to determine the prevalence and possible risk factors of headache and/or migraine in U.S. children, as well as the prevalence of complementary medicine use in this population. This is a secondary analysis of data from the 2017 U.S. National Health Interview Survey. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were compared between individuals with and without headaches. A backward stepwise procedure with a logistic regression statistic was used to test for potential predictors. Six percent of children reported headaches and/or migraine within the past 12 months. Headaches were predicted by older age, female sex, non-Hispanic white ethnicity, and living in the southern United States. Inability to afford balanced meals and feeling sad or depressed in the past 6 months were also associated with higher odds of headache. A total of 19.2% of children with headaches reported using mind-body medicine, compared with 12.2% of children without headaches. Most frequently used therapy was yoga (57.2%), followed by spiritual meditation (31.1%) and mindfulness meditation (24.0%). The prevalence of visits to a complementary medicine practitioner or healer was 12.5%. Most frequently seen practitioners were chiropractors (62.1%), followed by naturopaths (21.2%), homeopaths (14.1%), and traditional healers (2.5%). The common use of complementary medicine among children suffering from headaches is worth noting. Understanding the motivation for using complementary medicine, as well as the choice of different forms of such therapy, may shed further light on the health-seeking behavior of this population.