Headache/Migraine Jean Hall by KarenYeomans.com


About

At a physical level yoga’s deep, slow movements can help relax tight muscles in the neck and shoulders, which can improve blood flow, build muscle strength and, over time, help correct the bad postural habits that can cause headaches and migraines.

Becoming mindful of face and body habits, for example a tendency to round the shoulders, squint or scrunch the face when concentrating, can also be helpful in solving recurring headaches. You may become more mindful of the way you relate to your environment – the quality of light in your office, the chair you sit on, the food you eat – all factors which can trigger headaches.

Clinical studies on yoga and meditation have suggested they are a useful headache and migraine treatment. Perhaps most importantly they can help to calm an overworked nervous system – a major cause of tension headaches and migraines. They can reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of headaches, alleviate associated depression, stress, and anxiety, and improve feelings of wellbeing.


What the clinical studies say

Yoga
  • Alleviates depression
  • Improves coping behaviour
  • Improves daily functioning
  • Improves quality of life
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Reduces headache/migraine duration
  • Reduces headache/migraine frequency
  • Reduces headache/migraine intensity
  • Reduces headache/migraine pain rating
  • Reduces medication intake
  • Reduces stress
Meditation
  • Alleviates depression
  • Improves existential wellbeing
  • Increases daily spiritual experiences
  • Increases pain tolerance
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Reduces headache/migraine frequency

The clinical studies

Effectiveness of yoga therapy in the treatment of migraine without aura: a randomized controlled trial.
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Numerous studies have explored the effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of migraine but there is no documented investigation of the effectiveness of yoga therapy for migraine management.

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the effectiveness of holistic approach of yoga therapy for migraine treatment compared to self-care.DESIGN:A randomized controlled trial.

METHODS:

Seventy-two patients with migraine without aura were randomly assigned to yoga therapy or self-care group for 3 months. Primary outcomes were headache frequency (headache diary), severity of migraine (0-10 numerical scale) and pain component (McGill pain questionnaire). Secondary outcomes were anxiety and depression (Hospital anxiety depression scale), medication score.

RESULTS:

After adjustment for baseline values, the subjects' complaints related to headache intensity (P < .001), frequency (P < .001), pain rating index (P < .001), affective pain rating index (P < .001), total pain rating index (P < .001), anxiety and depression scores (P < .001), symptomatic medication use (P < .001) were significantly lower in the yoga group compared to the self-care group.

CONCLUSION:

The study demonstrated a significant reduction in migraine headache frequency and associated clinical features, in patients treated with yoga over a period of 3 months. Further study of this therapeutic intervention appears to be warranted.
Citations

136
Authors

PJ John | N Sharma | C M Sharma | A Kankane
Published

2007
Journal

Headache
Volume / Issue

46:5
Author's primary institution

Department of Zoology, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.
Efficacy of yoga therapy in the management of headaches
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Investigated the effect of yoga as a therapeutic aid in the treatment of migraine and tension headaches in 20 patients. Ss were randomly assigned to 4 mo of yoga therapy and no treatment control conditions. Ss in both groups were assessed for headache activity (in terms of frequency, duration, and intensity), sources of stress, coping patterns, and somatic symptoms before and after the therapeutic intervention. There was significant reduction in the headache activity, medication intake, symptoms, and stress perception for the therapy group. They also showed significant improvement in coping behavior.
Citations

19
Authors

Latha Kalliappan | K V Kalliappan
Published

1992
Journal

Journal of Indian Psychology
Volume / Issue

10:2
Author's primary institution

Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram
A Pilot Study of Yoga for Chronic Headaches in Youth: Promise Amidst Challenges
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

The primary aim of the current study was to provide preliminary data on the feasibility, acceptability, and safety of alignment-based yoga for youths with chronic headaches. A secondary aim was to provide preliminary estimates of yoga’s ability to improve headache pain, daily functioning, quality of life, and anxiety level in this population.

The yoga intervention consisted of 8 weekly, 75-minute classes. Participant flow data revealed challenges to feasibility primarily due to recruitment and retention. Scores on most outcome measures changed in the predicted direction with medium effect sizes found for the functional outcomes. Pain measures did not change significantly.

This pilot suggests that yoga for pediatric headaches may be acceptable, as indicated by positive parent and participant ratings of the yoga experience. These preliminary findings suggest that yoga trials for pediatric headaches include both challenges and promise. Recommendations for overcoming challenges include designs that optimize family convenience.
Citations

1
Authors

Keri R. Hainsworth | Katherine S. Salamon | Kim Anderson Khan | Bryant Mascarenhas | W. Hobart Davies | Steven J. Weisman
Published

2014
Journal

Pain Management Nursing
Volume / Issue

15:2
Author's primary institution

Department of Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin/Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Jane B. Pettit Pain and Palliative Care Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Migraines and meditation: does spirituality matter?
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Migraine headaches are associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety (Waldie and Poulton Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 72: 86–92, 2002) and feelings of low self-efficacy (French et al. Headache, 40: 647–656, 2000). Previous research suggests that spiritual meditation may ameliorate some of the negative traits associated with migraine headaches (Wachholtz and Pargament Journal of behavioral Medicine, 30: 311–318, 2005). This study examined two primary questions: (1) Is spiritual meditation more effective in enhancing pain tolerance and reducing migraine headache related symptoms than secular meditation and relaxation? and, (2) Does spiritual meditation create better mental, physical, and spiritual health outcomes than secular meditation and relaxation techniques?

Eighty-three meditation naïve, frequent migraineurs were taught Spiritual Meditation, Internally Focused Secular Meditation, Externally Focused Secular Meditation, or Muscle Relaxation which participants practiced for 20 min a day for one month. Pre-post tests measured pain tolerance (with a cold pressor task), headache frequency, and mental and spiritual health variables.

Compared to the other three groups, those who practiced spiritual meditation had greater decreases in the frequency of migraine headaches, anxiety, and negative affect, as well as greater increases in pain tolerance, headache-related self-efficacy, daily spiritual experiences, and existential well being.
Citations

83
Authors

Amy B. Wacholtz | Kenneth I. Pargament
Published

2008
Journal

Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume / Issue

31:4
Author's primary institution

 Department of Psychiatry, University of Mass Medical Center, 55 Lake Ave, Worcester, MA, 01655, USA

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