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Meditation for Migraine Pain Management

Can meditation help with migraine headaches?

Meditation is another type of relaxation therapy that helps to free the mind from distressing thoughts. When you are able to focus on a sound, tone, phrase, or image to empty the mind, it is a natural consequence that your focus will then be diverted from neck pain, headache and migraine pain.

Meditation is extremely effective in:

  • alleviating pain, headaches and migraines
  • reducing stress
  • increasing body energy
  • lowering blood pressure
  • producing an overall sense of common well-being.

Positive physiologic changes that have been seen with meditation include:

  • a slower, more regulated heart rate
  • a more restful breathing pattern
  • alteration of body temperature
  • changes in body metabolism
  • alteration of brain wave patterns especially if meditation is correctly performed
  • a more organized brain rhythm as seen on electroencephalograms
  • a deeper state of relaxation
  • more focused attention
  • improved and prolonged attention especially for those skilled at meditation
  • better performance in testing situations
  • a higher circulating level of the body’s relaxation chemicals

Research studies have also found a number of positive effects of meditation, especially for those who meditate frequently, which include:

  • improved energy
  • improved vigor
  • decreased fatigue
  • increased stamina
  • an improvement in a patient’s self-rating of headache pain
  • sleep cycle is more restful, more natural and with more rapid onset of restful sleep
  • reduction of negative habits such as use of tobacco, alcohol and caffeine
  • In regards to migraine pain management, however, the most important aspect of meditation is that studies have shown that meditation is very effective in reducing pain

Types of meditation techniques

There are several meditation techniques.  Most meditation instructors will initially attempt to train beginners in a group setting. This is crucial as the support, the reassurance, and the encouragement of others are needed as you begin to meditate. The meditation process can be just a few minutes to as long as 30 to 40 minutes sessions, very much dependent on your skill and your desired level of effects. Meditation is best taught by experts to ensure the meditation techniques are used correctly and that you are getting the most benefit out of it.

In essence, the meditator tries to focus on one single imaged idea or thought, maybe one physical function such as own breathing, a specific sound or noise or a particular body stimulus. There have been cases of people reciting a mantra which is a recited formula that is designed in producing a particular effect. Meditators utilize this technique to divert their attention away from the external world by focusing on this repeated word or phrase.

In essence, the concept is to quiet the mind and allow it to filter out distractions from the body. Although meditation is initially believed to have risen in Eastern religious practices, it exists in essentially all cultures. In fact some physical activities, such as concentration in sports as well as various exercise techniques, can be considered as reaching that sense of focused attention required for changing physiologic function of the body.

The best known form which is known as transcendental meditation, has gone through clinical trials and confirm that it leads to a number of positive responses such as:

  • reduced health-care usage
  • increased individual rating for quality of life
  • increased longevity
  • reduction of pain.

People who practice transcendental meditation also appear to have:

  • less stress
  • less anxiety
  • decreased high cholesterol
  • decreased high blood pressure
  • decreased substance use
  • increased attention.