Researchers performed semi-structured qualitative interviews in adult patients with migraine who were included in two mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) clinical trials to understand the mechanisms of the impact of mindfulness on migraine. Those who learned MBSR mindfulness techniques were found to have modified pain perception, changed response to migraine attacks and disease, heightened awareness of both external and internal experiences, improved overall wellbeing, and group benefits. Earlier stress-body awareness and heightened interoceptive awareness occurred due to mindfulness, which led to earlier recognition of attack and earlier and more effective management. Reduced fear of migraine and other disease burdens were seen with improved regulation of emotions. Mindfulness was found to be used both acutely and prophylactically, while only taught as a prevention method. Developing a conceptual model, researchers hypothesized that components from MBSR would lead to mindfulness in daily life, changing pain perception and experience, eventually improving overall well-being.

Reference: Estave PM, Margol C, Beeghly S, et al. Mechanisms of mindfulness in patients with migraine: Results of a qualitative study [published online ahead of print, 2023 Feb 28]. Headache. 2023;10.1111/head.14481. doi:10.1111/head.14481