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Mindfulness Found to Be an Effective Treatment for Migraines

In an article published in Pain, researchers from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) and John Hopkins School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences showed how mindfulness can help alleviate migraine headaches.

In an article published in Pain, researchers from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) and John Hopkins School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences showed how mindfulness can help alleviate migraine headaches.

In the study, “Enhanced Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Episodic Migraine,” 98 subjects with episodic migraines were trained for several weeks at Johns Hopkins in either mindfulness-based stress reduction or stress management for headaches. The participants recorded their headache episodes in a diary and received MRI testing at UMSOD at baseline, and at 10 weeks and 20 weeks.

Mindfulness was determined to decrease headache frequency in 52% of participants, compared with 23% in the control group. In addition, changes in cognitive brain networks were observed among this study set. According to researchers, subjects who practiced enhanced mindfulness had fewer headache days and reduced headache-related disability compared to the group that received stress management training.

Investigators report the results were “comparable to commonly used first-line treatments” for migraines, such as valproic acid. These findings may provide migraine patients with a non-pharmaceutical option for managing these events.

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