A study by American researchers explored the possibility that mindfulness meditation may help reduce the effects of migraine in people who suffer from it frequently, thereby improving quality of life over the long term.

Now the subject of numerous scientific studies, meditation appears to be an effective remedy for managing stressful situations or even sleep problems. One of the best known practices, so-called "mindfulness" meditation involves focusing on your breathing, your emotions, your thoughts or even the perception of physical sensations in your body. Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center wanted to know if it could help people with frequent migraines get rid of them. Specifically, they wanted to know if mindfulness-based stress reduction can be beneficial for sufferers.

Migraine is a chronic disease characterized by recurrent attacks that mainly result in severe headaches, sometimes accompanied by nausea or intolerance to noise or light. In some people, the seizure is preceded by signs called "aura". It has a strong impact on the quality of life due to an impact on emotional relationships and professional activities, especially since no effective long-term curative treatment has yet been put on the market. Its management is based on treatment of attacks (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and, in certain migraine sufferers, a basic preventive treatment to be taken on a daily basis.

 "A body-mind treatment"

  But many migraine patients stop the drugs because of their ineffectiveness or side effects, while some use opioid pain relievers despite the risk of overuse. A sustainable alternative would therefore be welcome. “Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a mind-body treatment that teaches moment-to-moment awareness through mindfulness meditation,” says Prof. Rebecca Erwin Wells who conducted the study. “Mindfulness can also teach new ways of responding to stress, a commonly reported migraine trigger. "

According to the study published by JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers studied whether mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) made it possible to reduce the number of days with migraines but also the perception of pain and emotional well-being. The researchers randomly assigned 89 adults with a history of migraine (between 4 and 20 migraine days per month) to the "MBSR" group or to the "migraine information" group, a training given in eight weekly sessions of two. hours: triggers and symptoms, how to calm a migraine and when to consult, available treatments ...

Less pain and better emotional well-being

  The “MBSR” group completed a mindfulness meditation and yoga program. Participants also received electronic audio files for home practice and were encouraged to do daily 30 minute sessions at home. At the end of the testing period, participants in both groups reported a reduction in the number of days with migraine, but those in the “MBSR” group reported better scores in terms of quality of life and health. emotional well-being with effects observed for up to 36 weeks. In addition, the intensity of pain and the inconvenience induced decreased in this group, suggesting a change in the assessment of pain. 

“In an age when opioids are still used for migraines, finding safe non-drug options with long-term benefits has important implications. », Adds Professor Rebecca Erwin Wells. “Mindfulness could potentially decrease its impact. ". However, the researchers conclude that a larger study is needed to confirm these results. Note that in France, researchers have also highlighted the benefits of meditation, the latest Inserm study on this subject having demonstrated that meditating improves aging by reducing stress, negative emotions and sleep problems that tend to get worse with age.