Behavioral and Mind/Body Interventions in Headache: Unanswered Questions and Future Research Directions

Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain (Impact Factor: 2.71). 05/2014; 54(6). DOI: 10.1111/head.12362


Many unanswered questions remain regarding behavioral and mind/body interventions in the treatment of primary headache disorders in adults.Methods
We reviewed the literature to ascertain the most pressing unanswered research questions regarding behavioral and mind/body interventions for headache.ResultsWe identify the most pressing unanswered research questions in this field, describe ideal and practical ways to address these questions, and outline steps needed to facilitate these research efforts. We discuss proposed mechanisms of action of behavioral and mind/body interventions and outline goals for future research in this field.Conclusions
Although challenges arise from the complex nature of the interventions under study, research that adheres to published study design and reporting standards and focuses closely on answering key questions is most likely to lead to progress in achieving these goals.

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Available from: Rebecca Erwin Wells, Feb 17, 2015
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    Preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Our objective was to assess the safety, feasibility, and effects of the standardized 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course in adults with migraines.Background Stress is a well-known trigger for headaches. Research supports the general benefits of mind/body interventions for migraines, but there are few rigorous studies supporting the use of specific standardized interventions. MBSR is a standardized 8-week mind/body intervention that teaches mindfulness meditation/yoga. Preliminary research has shown MBSR to be effective for chronic pain syndromes, but it has not been evaluated for migraines.Methods We conducted a randomized controlled trial with 19 episodic migraineurs randomized to either MBSR (n = 10) or usual care (n = 9). Our primary outcome was change in migraine frequency from baseline to initial follow-up. Secondary outcomes included change in headache severity, duration, self-efficacy, perceived stress, migraine-related disability/impact, anxiety, depression, mindfulness, and quality of life from baseline to initial follow-up.ResultsMBSR was safe (no adverse events), with 0% dropout and excellent adherence (daily meditation average: 34 ± 11 minutes, range 16-50 minutes/day). Median class attendance from 9 classes (including retreat day) was 8 (range [3, 9]); average class attendance was 6.7 ± 2.5. MBSR participants had 1.4 fewer migraines/month (MBSR: 3.5 to 1.0 vs control: 1.2 to 0 migraines/month, 95% confidence interval CI [−4.6, 1.8], P = .38), an effect that did not reach statistical significance in this pilot sample. Headaches were less severe, although not significantly so (−1.3 points/headache on 0-10 scale, [−2.3, 0.09], P = .053) and shorter (−2.9 hours/headache, [−4.6, −0.02], P = .043) vs control. Migraine Disability Assessment and Headache Impact Test-6 dropped in MBSR vs control (−12.6, [−22.0, −1.0], P = .017 and −4.8, [−11.0, −1.0], P = .043, respectively). Self-efficacy and mindfulness improved in MBSR vs control (13.2 [1.0, 30.0], P = .035 and 13.1 [3.0, 26.0], P = .035 respectively).ConclusionsMBSR is safe and feasible for adults with migraines. Although the small sample size of this pilot trial did not provide power to detect statistically significant changes in migraine frequency or severity, secondary outcomes demonstrated this intervention had a beneficial effect on headache duration, disability, self-efficacy, and mindfulness. Future studies with larger sample sizes are warranted to further evaluate this intervention for adults with migraines. This study was prospectively registered ( identifier NCT01545466).
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain
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    ABSTRACT: Although the efficacy of behavioral interventions for migraine (e.g., relaxation training, stress management, cognitive-behavioral therapy, biofeedback) is well established, other behavioral interventions that have shown efficacy for other conditions are being adapted to treat migraine. This paper reviews the literature to date on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), mindfulness-based interventions, and behavioral interventions for common migraine comorbidities. ACT and mindfulness interventions prioritize the outcome of improved functioning above headache reduction and have demonstrated efficacy for chronic pain broadly. These emerging behavioral therapies show considerable promise for improving outcomes of migraine patients, particularly in reducing headache-related disability and affective distress, but efficacy to date is limited by small trials, short follow-up periods, and a need for comparison or integration with established pharmacologic and behavioral migraine treatments.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Current Pain and Headache Reports
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