Meditation is a special form of focusing attention, becoming aware and directing consciousness.
Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC, and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, claims that migraine sufferers may get relief from meditation.
A migraine headache is the consequence of some physiologic alteration occurring within the brain that cause the characteristic pain and associated symptoms of a migraine.
Migraine is more common in women making up the statistics of migraine-suffering adult females to exceed more than 20 percent. 10 percent of adult males have experienced a migraine or severe headache in the last few months, according to the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
For millions of Americans suffering from migraines, a standardized 8-week routine called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), combining elements of meditation and yoga can help them in getting relief from the painful experience.
Some common types of meditation practiced in the United States includes mindfulness, transcendental, vipassana and zen.
Dr. Kabat-Zinn, who directs the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, developed MBSR to help patients who have chronic pain and stress.
“Stress is a well-known trigger for headaches and research supports the general benefits of mind/body interventions for migraines, but there hasn’t been much research to evaluate specific standardized meditation interventions,” said lead author Rebecca Erwin Wells, assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre in North Carolina explaining the reason behind carrying out the pilot study.
As many headaches are triggered by stress, tension, and anxiety, these techniques may relieve headaches simply by alleviating underlying stress.
Nineteen adults, exasperated by chronic migraine pain were divided into two groups with 10 receiving the MBSR intervention and nine receiving standard medical care aiming to assess the safety, feasibility and effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for migraine sufferers.
During the program the first group attended one instruction class a week and practiced MBSR at home for 45 minutes on at least another 5 days a week.
“We found that MBSR participants had trends of fewer migraines (1.4 less) that were less severe,” said Wells.
“In addition, there were no adverse events and excellent adherence,” Wells reported.
The researchers concluded, “MBSR is a safe and feasible therapy for adults with migraines. Although the sample size of this pilot study was small, secondary outcomes demonstrated this intervention had a beneficial effect on headache duration, disability, self-efficacy and mindfulness,”
With practice and patience, pain sufferers can create a difference in managing their health through this technique.
The study was published this week in the journal Headache.