Meditation for Migraines: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Rebecca Erwin Wells MD, MPH; Rebecca Burch MD; Randall H. Paulsen MD; Peter M. Wayne PhD; Timothy T. Houle PhD; Elizabeth Loder MD, MPH


Headache. 2014;54(9):1484-1495. 

In This Article

Future Directions

Although this pilot study suggests that the MBSR intervention may have clinically meaningful benefits, our results demonstrate the need for larger studies with an active control group, longer follow-up periods, and the collection of additional information to determine the mechanism of any effects. The biological mechanism for any potential efficacy is unknown, and this study demonstrates the need for further research in this area. MBSR may work by changing how migraineurs interpret pain, or may work through a therapeutic effect on other factors playing a role in headaches, such as improved emotion regulation, less pain catastrophizing, and increased pain acceptance. As an illustration, the MBSR instructor in this trial noted that many of the participants commented that, "I'm still having migraines, but I don't react to them as much, and am to be able to continue in my normal routine." Headaches are often considered to be a physical disorder influenced by psychosocial and environmental stressors,[45] so mind/body treatments such as MBSR may address these other factors playing a role in headaches. However, these processes are poorly understood and need further study.