In a recent clinical trial, researchers showed that mindfulness-based stress reduction could provide real benefits for people with migraines.
Migraine is a neurological disease that can be very debilitating and is the second leading cause of disability worldwide.
Unfortunately, many migraine sufferers discontinue medications due to ineffectiveness or side effects, and many still use opioids despite recommendations against them for headache treatment.
“At a time when opioids are still used for migraine headaches, finding safe, non-drug options with long-term benefits has significant implications,” says Rebecca Erwin Wells, associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Mindfulness can also teach new ways to respond to stress, a commonly reported migraine trigger.”
According to an article published by JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers studied whether mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) could improve migraine outcomes, pain perception, and measures of emotional well-being compared to education about it. headache.
In the study, 89 adults with a history of migraine were randomly assigned to either the MBSR group or the headache education group, with training or instruction delivered in eight two-hour weekly sessions.
The MBSR group followed a standardized mindful meditation and yoga curriculum. Participants also received electronic audio files for home practice and were encouraged to practice at home 30 minutes a day. The headache education group received instruction on headaches, pathophysiology, triggers, stress, and treatment approaches.
Participants in the MBSR and headache education groups reported fewer days with migraine. However, MBSR alone also reduced disability and improved quality of life, depression scores, and other measures that reflect emotional well-being, with effects seen up to 36 weeks. Furthermore, the intensity of experimentally induced pain and discomfort decreased in the MBSR group compared to the headache education group, suggesting a change in pain assessment.
“Mindfulness can treat the full burden of migraine and could potentially lessen the impact of this debilitating condition,” says Wells, while noting that “a larger and more definitive study is needed to confirm these findings.”
Source: Wake Forest Baptist Health
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