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Yoga may help reduce migraine pain, cut treatment cost: AIIMS study

"Medications are the first-line treatment for migraine, but they work for only about half of patients, and many drugs have side effects that make about 10 percent of people stop using them," it said. "The results (of the study) showed that yoga can reduce not just the pain, but also the treatment cost of migraines.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 20-06-2020 18:21 IST | Created: 20-06-2020 17:54 IST
Yoga may help reduce migraine pain, cut treatment cost: AIIMS study
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

Yoga can reduce not just the pain, but also the treatment cost of migraines, a new study has found. The study conducted by AIIMS was published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, according to a statement by AIIMS.

The statement comes ahead of the International Yoga Day on June 21. The new research suggests that yoga may help people with migraines and result in headaches that happen less often, don't last as long, and are less painful. "Medications are the first-line treatment for migraine, but they work for only about half of patients, and many drugs have side effects that make about 10 percent of people stop using them," it said.

"The results (of the study) showed that yoga can reduce not just the pain, but also the treatment cost of migraines. This is, until now, the largest randomized trial evaluating yoga as a therapeutic tool for migraine," it said. For the study, about 114 patients with episodic migraine were recruited to one of two groups.

The first group received conventional medical therapy as prescribed by their doctors, while the second got conventional treatment, plus a yoga program that included breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and yogic postures, the study said. The yoga protocol was prepared by yoga physicians at the Centre for Integrative Medicine and Research (CIMR) at AIIMS.

Patients learned the program in one-hour sessions for three days a week in a month under the supervision of yoga therapists at CIMR, and then practiced the routines at home, five days a week for the next two months, the study said. The study found that both groups showed a reduction in the frequency and intensity of headaches. But the yoga group tended to get significantly fewer headaches and had less intense headaches.

"For headache frequency, the yoga group started with an average of 9.1 headaches per month, and ended the study reporting just 4.7 headaches per month, a 48 percent reduction," the study said. The medication-only group reported an average of 7.7 headaches per month at the start of the study and 6.8 at the end of the three months, a 12 percent decrease, it said.

The average number of pills the yoga group used decreased by 47 percent after three months, while the usage of pills by the medication-only group decreased by about 12 percent, the study said. The main contributory authors for the study are Rohit Bhatia, Professor, Department of Neurology, AIIMS, Gautam Sharma, Professor in Charge, Center for Integrative Medicine and Research, AIIMS, and Anand Kumar, Senior Resident, Department of Neurology, AIIMS.

They concluded that yoga as an ancillary therapy in episodic migraine is superior to medical therapy alone. It may be useful to integrate a cost-effective and safe intervention like yoga in the management of migraine patients, the authors added.


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