The effect of mindfulness practices on migraine: Paige Estave, PhD

WATCHING TIME: 4 minutes

“After learning mindfulness, they really incorporated it into their daily lives. They practiced mindfulness and they learned the skills. One of them is interoception – so tuning in to sensations of your body – and what happens is [the] learning the symptoms of migraine onset, the prodrome, and what we saw was patients taking their medications earlier. When you take your meds earlier and stop that migraine, it doesn’t get as bad.

At the 2022 American Headache Society (AHS) Annual Scientific Meeting, June 9-11, in Denver, Colorado, data was presented from a study evaluating mindfulness practices in patients with migraine, ultimately suggesting potential mechanisms of effect in this population including, increased body and interoceptive stress awareness, improved emotion regulation, as well as altered pain and migraine experiences.1

Presented by Paige Estave, PhD, a medical student on the comprehensive headache research team at Wake Forest School of Medicine, the study included semi-structured qualitative interviews with adults with migraine who experienced participated in 2 clinical studies on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). trials (n = 43). These interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and then summarized in a framework matrix. In total, people who learned the practice through MBSR reported impaired pain perception—measured by quantitative sensory testing—and impaired migraine attack response. Additionally, participants reported earlier awareness of the stressed body and increased interoceptive awareness that allowed for earlier recognition of attacks, and therefore earlier and more effective management.

To learn more about this study and its results, NeurologyLive® sat down with Estave in Denver. She spoke about the experience reported by the participants and shared her perspective on the findings, noting the implications they carry for the management of migraine in adults. Estave and his colleagues concluded that the results support and expand the understanding of the mechanisms of mindfulness on migraine and direct future research projects.

Click here for more AHS 2022 coverage.

REFERENCE
1. Estave P, Margol CL, Beeghly S, et al. Mechanisms of mindfulness in patients with migraine: results of a qualitative study. Presented at: AHS Annual Meeting; June 9-12, 2022; Denver, Colorado.

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