Yoga may Prevent Chronic Headaches

October 18, 2012

You are a sensible person who struggles to manage chronic migraines using conventional methods.  You’ve never been one to buy into ‘alternative medicine practices.’  When you sense a migraine approaching, you know the drill: retreat into a dark room, take your over-the-counter or prescription medication, lie down and brace yourself.  You’ve discussed undergoing a migraine procedure should your condition worsen or the migraine treatments no longer allow you to live a relatively normal lifestyle.  Here is some great and ‘sensible’ information you might want to use to combat your migraine condition: Yoga as a migraine treatment has scientific backing!  You no longer have to take the chatter about yoga benefits on faith alone.   The throngs of yogis rushing into class at your local gym with colorful mats and blocks may actually be on to something.  Scientists have provided us with research findings to prove that yoga not only has preventative but therapeutic effects on chronic migraines.

A study conducted by medical researchers in India and the UK, published this year in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that yoga had a measurable positive impact on chronic migraine sufferers.  Researchers divided a group of 70 males and females between the ages of 18 and 65 years, who experience migraines at least 15 days out the month, into two groups.  The first group was treated with conventional migraine treatments and the second was taken through a 4-session per week, 12-week program of hour-long yoga classes.   The yoga therapist emphasized relaxation, release of tension in the muscles and feeling of helping oneself.  At the end of the study and then again 6 months later, researchers noted reduced frequency and length of migraine attacks.  All medication usage was reduced, as were feelings of depression that often accompany chronic migraine.

Conventional and alternative medical experts also recommend yoga for the prevention of chronic migraines and headaches.  An interesting article published a few years ago, by a physician who experiences migraines herself, in The American Academy of Neurology  journal Neurology Now discussed how neurologists with migraines cope with their own headaches.  One of the preventative measures was minimizing the stress trigger through relaxation techniques such as yoga.

As always, before you begin a new diet/exercise program, make sure your doctor gives you the thumbs up.  Emboldened with some medical research, and the knowledge that neurologists with migraines choose yoga as a preventative and therapeutic migraine treatment, perhaps you’ll join your local yogis and head into the ‘mind-body’ room to try out some Asanas, or poses!

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