Mindfulness may mitigate migraines
Migraine sufferers often seek relief from over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription meds, but another approach has been studied that holds some promise—mindfulness. Using meditation and yoga intervention may not be new approaches, but they may be overlooked for treatment of migraine.
“We found that the MBSR participants had trends of fewer migraines that were less severe,” said lead study author Dr. Rebecca Wells in a statement. “Secondary effects included headaches that were shorter in duration and less disabling, and participants had increases in mindfulness and self-efficacy—a sense of personal control over their migraines.”
“In addition,” said Dr. Wells, assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., “there were no adverse events and excellence adherence.”
Study participants included 19 adults assigned to two groups. One group of 10 participants received MBSR intervention, and the other nine received standard medical care. Participants receiving MBSR intervention learned techniques through eight weekly classes. They were also instructed to practice these techniques on their own for 45 minutes during five additional days of the week.
The MBSR participants had nearly two less migraines per month that were less severe and that lasted significantly shorter compared to those receiving standard medical treatment.
Although the sample size of the study was too small to determine statistically significant changes in migraine frequency and severity, researchers did find that MBSR intervention had a beneficial effect on headache duration, disability, self-efficacy and mindfulness.
“For the approximate 36 million Americans who suffer from migraines, there is a big need for non-pharmaceutical treatment strategies, and doctors and patients should know that MBSR is a safe intervention that could potentially decrease the impact of migraines,” said Dr. Wells.
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