(HealthDay)—There is a widespread shortage of certified headache specialists in the United States compared with the expected migraine population, according to a study presented at the 2013 International Headache Congress, held from June 27 to 30 in Boston.
Noah Rosen, M.D., and Emily Mauser, from the Hofstra North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Manhasset, N.Y., determined the number of headache specialists in the United States certified by the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties, and used epidemiologic data to determine the expected migraine population and chronic migraine population.
The researchers found that there are currently 416 certified headache specialists in the United States, with the highest numbers in New York, California, Ohio, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Six states were found to have no headache specialists and fourteen states had only one or two specialists. The expected migraine population aged 12 years and older was approximately 30.6 million people, while the expected chronic migraine population was approximately 2.4 million. For both migraine and chronic migraine, the states with the best ratio of provider to patient were the District of Columbia, New Hampshire, New York, and Nebraska. For both migraine and chronic migraine, excluding the states with no specialists, the states with the worst ratios were Oregon, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Kansas.
"This is a troubling picture," Rosen said in a statement. "Migraine is a highly disabling disorder—the seventh most disabling in the world and the fourth most disabling among women. It's clear that many more specialists need to be trained and certified to meet the need."