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Mindfulness Training Does Not Reduce Migraine Frequency

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Key Takeaways

  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) does not improve migraine frequency vs other headache education.
  • Those who participated in MBSR had improvements from baseline at all follow-up time points for measures of disability, quality of life, self-efficacy, pain catastrophizing, and depression scores.
  • The MBSR group also had a decrease in experimentally induced pain intensity and unpleasantness at 36 weeks compared with the headache education group.

HealthDay News–Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) does not improve migraine frequency more than headache education, according to a study published 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% female) who experienced 4 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 2 hours each week for 8 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% decrease; headache education, 13.5% increase; change in unpleasantness: MBSR, 30.4% decrease; headache education, 11.2% 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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