Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Suffering In Chronic Migraineurs: Study

Migraine Meditation

Studies Show Meditation Helps Migraineurs (1)

A study conducted by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC, and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, examined 19 adults suffering from chronic migraines in order to find the effects of mindfulness meditation on those experiencing chronic headaches and to test the safety and feasibility of such a practice.

The findings of this study were published online in journal Headache.  Such a test was conducted mainly keeping in mind the hypothesis that stress-trigger in migraines could be addressed mindfulness meditation. As per lead author of the study, Rebecca Erwin Wells, assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist, “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”. (2)

The study however demonstrated that mindfulness meditation did indeed help alleviate migraine pains and that they were a safe way to reduce the intensity and frequency of the migraines.

Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction or MBSR used yoga, mindfulness meditation and body awareness in a standardized 8-week program on the migraining volunteers. The migraineurs were divided into any of the 2 groups. They were then evaluated on disability, self-efficacy and mindfulness. After this was done, one group received conventional or mainstream migraine management care while the other group took part in the 8-week MBSR program. The MBSR program required the candidates to practice their mindfulness techniques for 45 minutes every day for at least 5 days a week. They were exposed to 1 instruction class every week as well. During this 8-week program all the participants noted how frequent their migraine episodes were, how long they lasted, how intense they were.

The researchers found that the patients who completed the MBSR program tended to have 1.4 fewer headaches per month that were less severe. Not only this, the episodes lasted less longer, were less disabling, the migraineurs felt a better sense of control over the events. Besides this, the program with its techniques proved safe as no adverse side effects were observed during the trial.

However, larger sample sizes and population with varied ethnicity, age groups, gender and socio-economic strata need to be studied for MBSR to be integrated into the mainstream and conventional treatment package for migraineurs.

According to Prof. Wells, “For the approximate 36 million Americans who suffer from migraines, there is a big need for non-pharmaceutical treatment strategies, and doctors and patients should know that MBSR is a safe intervention that could potentially decrease the impact of migraines.” (3)

SOURCES

  1. Image Credit: Woman Doing Yoga On Rock Stock Photo by Adamr; Free Digital Photos; Web September 2014; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Healthy_Living_g284-Woman_Doing_Yoga_On_Rock_p100414.html
  2. Migraine sufferers may find meditation helps; Medical News Today: Web September 2014; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282441.php
  3. Meditation May Mitigate Migraine Misery;Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center – News & Media Resources; Web September 2014; http://www.wakehealth.edu/News-Releases/2014/Meditation_May_Mitigate_Migraine_Misery.htm

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Migraining Women Likely To Develop Dementia: Study

Dementia Risk For Migraineurs

 

Migraineurs With Aura Are 48% More Likely To Develop Dementia In Later Life (1)

As if the sustained pounding, debilitating pain, the flurry of traumatic symptoms and ineffective medicines were not enough for migraineurs, studies are now showing that persons who suffer migraines with visual and other aura are 48% more likely to develop dementia as they begin to age than their healthier counterparts! (2)

In part this could be explained by the presence of white matter lesions that the brains of migraineurs are often seemed to have when scanned using an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).

We know that white matter of the brain consists of nerve fibres (axons) and are surrounded by fat called myelin (3). The main function of the white matter is to transmit signals from one region of the cerebrum to another and between the cerebrum and lower brain centres. Lesions in the white matter interfere with signal transmissions. Damage to this white matter is a common significant factor observed in all those suffering from dementia.

Earlier control tests and those conducted at the Changhua Christian Hospital, Taiwan has already shown that migraineurs are at an exponential risk of diabetes and of developing hypertension, depression and cardiovascular diseases.

However, other studies have shown that the mental status of women with a history of migraine was no different from other women’s, so more research is needed.

SOURCES

  1. Image Credits: Dementia Disease And A Loss Of Brain Function And Memories As Al by David Castillo Dominici: FreeDigitalPhotos.net; Web November 2013; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/dementia-disease-and-a-loss-of-brain-function-and-memories-as-al-photo-p173821
  2. Migraine may be linked to dementia; IOL Lifestyle; Web November 2013; http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/migraine-may-be-linked-to-dementia-1.1608597#.UoowF9JmiSo
  3. White matter of the brain; MedlinePlus; Web November 2013; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002344.htm

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