Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Can Provide Pain Relief from Episodic Migraine

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Neda Gould, PhD
Assistant Professor
Director, Mindfulness Program at Johns Hopkins
Associate Director, Bayview Anxiety Disorders Clinic
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?

Response: Migraines can be severe and debilitating and many of the current pharmacological treatments have side effects. We were interested in studying the effect of a non-pharmacological intervention (mindfulness meditation) on migraines using various outcomes including brain imaging.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program that has been shown to improve chronic pain. However, the benefits of this program have been modest in migraine patients. We sought to determine if a longer period of mindfulness training and home practice would yield better outcomes in migraine patients.

The traditional MBSR course consists of 8 weekly sessions and a retreat. We enhanced this course to include the 8 weekly sessions and retreat followed by 4 additional biweekly sessions (MBSR +).

We randomized 98 adults with episodic migraine to the MBSR+ group (50 participants) or to a stress management for headache group (SMH, 48 participants). The SMH group included didactic content on stress and other triggers in headaches. Both groups followed a similar format and timing.

All participants completed questionnaires an also underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at changes in brain structure and function.

Last Updated on October 13, 2020 by PainRelief.com