Pain Acceptance May Reduce Headache-Related Disability in Migraine

Migraine, woman with headache
Migraine, woman with headache
Improved pain acceptance may be associated with a decrease in headache-related disability in patients with migraine.

Improved pain acceptance may be associated with a decrease in headache-related disability in patients with migraine, according to analysis study published in Annals of Behavior Medicine.

Researchers analyzed the impact of a behavioral weight loss intervention vs a migraine education program on headache-related disability in overweight individuals with migraine. After an initial evaluation, patients with recurring migraines who had a body mass index between 25 and 49.9 kg/m2 were randomly assigned to follow a behavioral weight loss or a migraine education program, each lasting 16 weeks.

Pain acceptance was evaluated with the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire, and headache disability was assessed with the Headache Impact Test-6 at baseline, after the 16-week treatment period, and at a 32- to 36-week follow-up appointment. Migraine frequency and intensity were logged using a smartphone diary.

Of the 110 participants, all were women, 86% were white, and the average age was 39.25 years. At baseline, the headache disability score was 64.65 and the pain acceptance score was 66.25. Improvements in pain acceptance were comparable in patients who had received the behavioral weight loss or migraine education program at the end of the intervention and at follow-up. When controlling for covariates, the changes in pain acceptance were significantly associated with changes headache-related disability (P =.006).

Study limitations include a homogenous cohort.

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”The current study was a post hoc analysis of a randomized trial that showed that pain acceptance contributes to less headache-related disability above and beyond reductions in migraine severity, and thus may be a potential innovative intervention target in the treatment of migraine in conjunction with traditional headache management intervention,” concluded the study authors.

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Lillis J, Thomas JG, Lipton RB, et al. The association of changes in pain acceptance and headache-related disability [published online October 5, 2018] Ann Behav Med. doi: 10.1093/abm/kay076