We need all the angles we can come up with to fight against migraines, especially when they are frequent and hard to treat.
In a study from researchers in India called Effect of yoga as add-on therapy in migraine (CONTAIN): A randomized clinical trial, subjects with migraine and 4-13 headache days per month were randomized into a program of standard medical treatment with or without yoga. The yoga program was 1 month of supervised sessions and then 2 months of at-home yoga.
The subjects who did yoga had an average reduction of 4.4 headache days per month, compared with 0.9 fewer headaches per month for the non-yoga group. The reduction in migraine intensity was double in the yoga group and a measure of overall impact of headaches was reduced significantly more in the yoga group.
That’s a real benefit for something non-pharmacologic! I’ll be glad to share this with my migraine patients. I do always discuss lifestyle issues with people having trouble with migraine control. Of course, smart use of medications is key to a migraine treatment plan, but doesn’t always do the job entirely. We know that variations in daily lifestyle can be a trigger, such as changes in diet, hydration, exercise, sleep, or others. Why should yoga help? To those that achieve a relaxed and centered state, it’s probably a reduction in stress hormone levels that results in less pain and fewer migraine episodes. To those not as inclined to yoga, perhaps a walk, meditation, music or some other relaxing active would help.
But there’s got to be something about a discipline that’s lasted some several thousand years!
Disclaimer: I’m not your doctor and this is not formal medical advice. If you have any health concerns, check with your own health professional before starting a new exercise program.