Comparison of mindfulness meditation with headache education for migraines

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Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and headache training have a similar clinically meaningful effect on migraine frequency, but MBSR is also linked to improved disability, quality of life, self-efficacy, pain disaster, and depression in patients with migraine headaches.The study results were presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual virtual meeting 2021 presented from April 17th to 22nd, 2021.

The aim of the current study was to compare the effects of MBSR and headache formation on migraine outcomes and cognitive function.

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The study enrolled 89 adults (92% women; mean age 43.9 years) with 4 to 20 monthly migraines who were randomly assigned to 8 weekly personal MBSR or headache instruction classes.

The primary result was the change in migraine frequency from baseline to 12 weeks. In addition, after 12, 24 and 36 weeks, the study researchers assessed changes in disability, quality of life, self-efficacy, pain catastrophe, depression values ​​and experimentally induced pain intensity and comfort.

After 12 weeks, MBSR and headache formation were associated with fewer migraine days and the difference between the groups was not statistically significant (-1.6 migraine days / month versus -2.0 migraine days / month; P = 0.51).

However, MBSR was at all time points of disability (5.92; 95% CI, 2.8-9.0; P <0.001) and quality of life (5.1; 95% CI, 1.2-8.9; P. = 0.01) associated with an improvement over the initial value. Self-efficacy (8.2; ​​95% CI, 0.3-16.1; P = 0.04), pain disaster (5.8; 95% CI, 2.9-8.8; P <0.001); Depression (1.6; 95% CI, 0.4-2.7; P = 0.008) and decreased experimentally induced pain intensity and discomfort (P = 0.004 and P = 0.005, respectively).

“MBSR can help treat all of the migraine stress. A larger, more definitive study is needed to further investigate these results, ”the researchers concluded.


Wells RE, O’Connell N., Pierce C. et al. Mindfulness meditation vs. headache formation in migraines: a randomized clinical trial. Presented at: the American Academy of Neurology’s annual virtual meeting 2021. Abstract S15.003

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