Mindfulness Training Does Not Reduce Migraine Frequency

However, mindfulness-based stress reduction improves various measures, including disability and quality of life
woman with headache
woman with headache

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) does not improve migraine frequency more than headache education, according to a study published online Dec. 14 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Rebecca Erwin Wells, M.D., M.P.H., from Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and colleagues randomly assigned 89 adults (92 percent female) who experienced four to 20 migraine days per month to either MBSR (standardized training in mindfulness/yoga) or headache education (migraine information) delivered in groups that met for two hours each week for eight weeks.

The researchers found that participants in both groups had fewer migraine days at 12 weeks (MBSR: −1.6 migraine days per month; headache education: −2.0 migraine days per month), without a difference between the groups. Those who participated in MBSR had improvements from baseline at all follow-up time points for measures of disability (point estimates of effect differences between groups: 5.92), quality of life (5.1), self-efficacy (8.2), pain catastrophizing (5.8), and depression scores (1.6). The MBSR group also had a decrease in experimentally induced pain intensity and unpleasantness at 36 weeks compared with the headache education group (change in intensity: MBSR, 36.3 percent decrease; headache education, 13.5 percent increase; change in unpleasantness: MBSR, 30.4 percent decrease; headache education, 11.2 percent increase).

"Mindfulness meditation may help treat the total burden of migraine," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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