How Yoga And Meditation Can Reduce Migraines

The pain of a migraine can last for days, and some people suffer from migraines as often as every other day. Migraines can make it difficult to carry out daily activities, per Everyday Health. Migraines are complicated, and doctors aren't quite sure what causes them. Some believe that the brains of people prone to migraines are more sensitive to certain stimuli and triggers than others. These triggers can range from environmental changes to certain foods. The American Headache Society reports that 4 out of 5 people identify stress as a trigger.

Not knowing what causes migraines makes them more difficult to treat. While there is no cure for them, there are some medications used to treat pain as it starts, notes Everyday Health. Other medications are preventive and work to keep migraines from occurring in the first place. That said, with stress being the culprit behind so many migraines, learning to manage stress can also prove to be a useful tool.

Yoga and meditation may improve quality of life

Yoga and meditation are considered to be mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) therapies, and research suggests that they may be helpful in reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines. A 2020 study, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, followed the results of 89 participants who suffered between 4 and 20 migraines per month.

Participants were divided into two groups: 44 people received literature about migraines and treatments, while the remaining 45 were given audio files of yoga and meditation classes to practice for 30 minutes per day. At the end of 12 weeks, both groups shared that they had fewer migraines, but the group that practiced MBSR noted a better quality of life, fewer symptoms of depression, and reduced pain unpleasantness and intensity. The results suggest that MBSR helped the participants learn a new way of processing pain that could affect long-term health. In addition, the positive outcomes lasted up to 36 weeks. The authors of the study noted that a larger, more conclusive study is needed to understand how yoga and meditation impact migraine (via the JAMA Network).