Adjunctive yoga is linked to improved migraine outcomes

  • Kumar A & al.
  • Neurology
  • 06.05.2020

  • von Susan London
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • For migraine, a 3-month yoga intervention added to usual medical therapy was linked to reduced headache frequency, disability, and intensity in this randomized controlled trial.
  • Participants also reported less use of rescue medication.

Why this matters

  • Medical therapy for migraine has limited efficacy and involves adverse effects and high costs.

Key results

  • At 3 months, in comparing decreases between groups, add-on yoga vs medical therapy alone was linked to steeper mean reductions (delta differences [95% CIs]) in:
    • Monthly headache days: 3.53 (2.52-4.54).
    • Headache intensity on an 11-point scale: 1.31 (0.60-2.01).
    • Headache Impact Test-6 score: 8.0 (4.78-11.22).
    • Migraine Disability Assessment score: 7.85 (4.98-10.97).
    • Monthly rescue pill count: 2.28 (1.06-3.51).
  • Yoga also netted a greater percentage of patients free from headache (no use of acute medication):
    • 12.28% vs 0% (P=.006).
    • Number needed to treat: 8.

Study design

  • Randomized controlled CONTAIN trial in India among 160 adults aged 18-50 years with episodic migraine and meeting the following criteria:
    • 4-13 headaches monthly.
    • With or without aura.
    • Stable migraine prophylaxis, if taken.
  • Randomization: open-label medical therapy alone vs medical therapy plus yoga intervention.
  • Yoga intervention:
    • 1 month of supervised yoga 3 days/week at an integrated medicine center.
    • 2 months of continuation, 5 days/week at home.
  • Main outcomes: headache measures on blinded assessment.
  • Funding: None.

Limitations

  • Single center.
  • No sham yoga group.
  • Generalizability, durability of benefit unknown.