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One of the most common forms of headache disorder is migraine, which commonly affects people between 18 and 44. However, the custom treatments for migraine causes side effects that are hard to tolerate; hence most people opt not to take the recommended medication. 

A recent survey revealed that combining specific behavioral treatments with preventive medication treatments effectively reduces headaches than utilizing medications alone. The survey also observed that at least 20% of people with migraines opted to use opioids to relieve their pain in the previous year. 

The survey suggested other treatments include mindfulness, the mind-body treatment that involves focusing a person’s attention on the current momentary awareness without judgment. 

Mindfulness practice has assisted people with stress reduction and chronic pain such as migraines. However, the survey also revealed that stress is a common trigger for migraines and that stressful events trigger frequent migraines. 

How researchers conducted the study

Study authors investigated if mindfulness-based stress reduction benefits patients experiencing migraines: the study assigned individuals with migraines to the mindfulness treatment and the other half to headache education. 

The treatments consisted of eight weeks of two-hour in-person classes and were assigned an expert for each. The respondents learned about the biological and psychological environmental processes connected to migraines for headache education. In addition, the respondents received time for questions and discussions during the class. 

 The latter included sitting and walking mediation, among other activities that brought the body’s attention to the natural rhythm of the breath. The respondents were also encouraged to develop their capacity to address mental perceptions of their pain and received audio files for home practice. 

Migraines reduced after the experiment 

The study authors discovered that mindfulness-based stress reduction treatment significantly improved respondents’ quality of life and self-efficiency, among others. In addition, the treatment recorded the highest number of migraine reduction cases during the study. 

 However, the findings were significantly distinct from the headache education treatment. The study authors couldn’t explain why this was. The survey findings created significant implications for both medical expertise and patients. 

The study encouraged certain mindfulness practices such as meditation and breathing exercises if experiencing a migraine while at home.