MONDAY, Jan. 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A migraine-specific adaptation of the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program does not improve headache-related impairment among patients with migraine, but does result in reduced headache frequency and improved psychological functioning, according to a study published online Dec. 21 in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Kathrin Simshäuser, Ph.D., from the University of Freiburg in Germany, and colleagues randomly assigned 54 patients suffering from migraine to a wait list or to a migraine-specific MBCT program. Patients underwent assessments at baseline and postintervention, as well as at follow-up (seven months) in the intervention group. Outcomes included migraine-related parameters and variables of psychological functioning and coping.

The researchers observed no significant group difference in the primary outcome of headache-related impairment, but there was a significant reduction in the frequency of headache with the intervention. In an analysis of secondary outcomes, superiority was seen with MBCT for four of eight psychological parameters (perceived stress, anxiety, rumination, and catastrophizing); effect sizes were small to medium. The intervention was feasible; participants reported high contentment and personal goal achievement.

“From our trial data, we cannot recommend the adapted MBCT program to patients who primarily aim at reducing the impairment they experience from their headache,” the authors write. “However, as the adapted MBCT program shows potential in influencing headache features and in fostering higher-level coping processes, it merits further evaluation in the field of headache disorders that cause suffering and impairment for millions of patients.”

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