The GP's View: Mindfulness can help ease the pain of your migraine
SOMETIMES one of the best solutions for a problem can be the low-tech, simple one. I'm thinking about migraine.
This is a neurological disorder caused by a fault in nerve and brain function. People who have more than six to eight migraine episodes a month are usually prescribed preventative medicine.
The migraineur also needs a calm life, regular sleep, meals, exercise and minimal stresses. All this is hard, if not impossible, to achieve.
But a recent study has presented us with a new strategy – one that doesn't involve medication yet has been shown to be effective: mindfulness meditation.
This is a way of focusing your attention on the present moment, while being aware of your thoughts but not engaging with them.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that mindfulness worked just as well as giving people detailed ‘headache information' tutorials when it came to reducing the frequency of their headaches.
But only the mindfulness group experienced less pain.
The lesson here is that we must not put all our efforts into drug therapies for migraine: mindfulness, relaxation training and yoga all have their place in the management of this painful condition.
This underlines the fact that lifestyle and behaviour plays as great a part in dealing with migraine as drug therapy does.
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