Send to

Choose Destination
J Headache Pain. 2019 Mar 18;20(1):28. doi: 10.1186/s10194-019-0980-5.

Development of an education and self-management intervention for chronic headache - CHESS trial (Chronic Headache Education and Self-management Study).

Author information

Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK.
Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK.
Headache Group, UCL Institute of Neurology and The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG, UK.
Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Blizard Institute Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.
Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Surrey, TW20 0EX, UK.



Self-management interventions are well recognised and widely used in chronic conditions. Their application to chronic headaches has been limited and generally of low quality. We describe here our process for developing an evidence based, and theory driven, education and self-management intervention for those living with chronic headache.


Our intervention was designed using several core information sources; the results of three systematic reviews, qualitative material from those living with chronic headaches, our knowledge from existing self-management interventions; and finally collaborative input from a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, academics, patients, and charity partners. We manualised the intervention and associated training as a package for use in a feasibility study. We made adaptations for its use in a randomised controlled trial.


We piloted the intervention in four groups with a total of 18 participants. Qualitative feedback from 12 participants and five facilitators allowed the intervention to be refined for the main randomised controlled trial. Some of the key changes included shortening of the overall intervention, changes to the originally planned facilitators and spreading the facilitator training over three days rather than two. We are now testing the final revised intervention in a randomised controlled trial of its clinical and cost effectiveness. The group component of the intervention is delivered over two days with the first day focused on living, understanding and dealing with chronic headaches and the second day exploring how to adapt and take control of one's life with chronic headaches.


Our pilot work indicates that our intervention is feasible to deliver, and with the relevant changes would be acceptable for use with this population. Our randomised control trial is ongoing. We anticipate publishing final results in 2021.


ISRCTN79708100. Registered 16th December 2015,


Behaviour change; Chronic headache; Intervention development; Migraine; Primary care; Self-management; Tension type headache

Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center