Meditation, Medication, and Migraines

Mediation, Medication, and Migraines Study

Published recently in Behavioral Medicine, “Effect of Different Meditation Types on Migraine Headache Medication Use” investigates how a combination of spiritual meditation and migraine medication can affect, if at all, analgesic medication usage. Lasting only 30 days, the study comprised of 92 participants with frequent migraines (>2 per month). The participants – new to meditation – were randomly placed into four groups. Then, researchers assigned a different meditation style and technique to each group:

  1. Spiritual Meditation (exp. “God is love”),
  2. Internally Focused Secular Meditation (exp. “I am content”),
  3. Externally Focused Secular Meditation (exp. “Sand is soft,”), or
  4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (technique).

Once assigned into their group, the participants practiced their technique for 20 minutes every day. After finishing their meditation, they would then complete their daily headache diaries. In their diary, participants recorded the frequency and severity of their headaches. The researchers also took into account their pain medication and usage.

Though the severity of the migraines did not differ among the groups, the frequency, however, significantly decreased for those in group 1. As for medication, every group used analgesic medication less over time. Although, medication usage in group 1 was noticeably less compared to the other groups. Ultimately, the results indicate that spiritual meditation may be a more effective means of coping with migraines than non-spiritual meditation.


Despite offering an all-natural means of treating migraines, meditation may not fully replace drug treatments. If you struggle with migraines or severe headaches, it’s best to ask your doctor what your treatment options are. Moreover, with all the doctors visits and prescriptions, it’s important to have a health plan that meets all your medical needs. So, contact one of our agents today!

More Evidence of Meditation Helping Pain Sufferers

In 2015, researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center examined 75 healthy, pain-free people and subjected them to a heat stimulus on a small area of their skin. The scientists randomly divided participants into four groups: mindful meditation, placebo meditation, placebo analgesic cream (petroleum jelly), or control (no variables added). Participants’ pain ratings and brain scans produced intriguing results. The mindfulness mediation group’s pain intensity decreased by 27 percent and by 44 percent for the emotional aspect of pain. The brain scans also displayed that meditation reduced pain by activating parts of the brain related to self-control. The placebo cream reduced pain by decreasing brain activity in pain-processing regions.

The Calm app has recently become one of the most favored apps to help relieve stress and promote sleep and meditation. Their web developers use meditation, Sleep Stories, music, and other elements to soothe listeners into a relaxed state for better sleep. The app claims to help those with migraines as well. They state that their application’s meditation practices can ease migraines by helping manage stress and anxiety, support brain development, assist chemical imbalances, enhance self-awareness, and improve sleep. If you want to try out Calm, they offer a free seven-day trial with limited but beneficial features. After the trial period ends, you must sign up for a monthly ($14.99) or yearly ($69.99) subscription to continue using the software.  

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This article was updated on 3/13/24.

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