Table of contents:
- New research: CBT has a greater effect on migraines than drugs
- Psychotherapy as a treatment for migraine
- Mind and body are one biological system
Video: 4 Out Of 5 People With Migraines Have Less Headache After CBT - Research
2023 Author: Oswald Adamson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 20:18
New research: CBT has a greater effect on migraines than drugs
It is common knowledge that migraine headaches are difficult to heal with pain relievers, which, according to research, work no better than placebos. A new article in the journal Headache says that 83% of patients who received a short course of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) experienced fewer headaches. Researchers believe that changes in a specific area of the brain that occur during pain management explain how CBT helps with migraines.
Migraines are pain. Strong. Patients often describe her as so terrible that all they can do is lie down in a dark room. Medicines have been the main treatment for migraine for a long time, but they do not always save you from a severe migraine. The situation becomes even more difficult when people suffer from frequent attacks or a chronic form of the disease, when prophylactic drugs are believed to work in only 20% of cases.
When medications don't work, doctors resort to other methods, such as biofeedback, acupuncture, or stress reduction techniques. But since migraines are considered a medical problem, these treatments are secondary.
Psychotherapy as a treatment for migraine
This is why this new research is so important. Most of the 18 adolescents with frequent migraines who participated in the study had their attacks easier. Unlike many studies that use special protocols not available outside the laboratory, this study used a simple tool. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most widely studied and available psychotherapies in the United States today.
To understand how CBT worked, the participants had an MRI before and after the therapy. The adolescents had 15 to 7.4 migraine attacks per month prior to the study. After completing an 8-week course of CBT, the number of cases dropped to 10-7.4 per month.
Technical details: MRI was a structural type, dependent on the level of oxygen in the blood at rest. Arterial rotation markings were also used to look at resting brain activation, and the left and right amygdala was compared to assess the relationship. In addition, voxels, or 3D pixels of the entire brain, were studied over time.
CBT activates areas of pain management in the brain
After CBT, scans showed increased brain activity in the frontal lobe associated with pain regulation. That is, these were the areas of the prefrontal cortex, thanks to which we can consciously think about pain and deal with it. MRI also found an increase in the connection between the amygdala and the frontal lobe after a course of CBT. So, the amygdala, the center of stress and raw emotion in our brain, communicates more with the frontal lobe, which is responsible for thinking about pain. In other words, cognitive behavioral therapy has helped the part of our brain that is nervous about pain to listen to calming thoughts at higher levels of the brain.
It's just great. When medical problems are dealt with more effectively with talking therapy than with medication, the question arises about the nature of these diseases. I would like to ask if migraine is really an emotional or psychosomatic problem; from the category "everything is in our heads." This is an outdated idea that goes back to the ancient Greek philosophy that formed the basis of Western culture: the mind and body are separate from each other. Therefore, we ask such questions as: "Is this a medical problem or a psychological one?"
Mind and body are one biological system
Studies like these highlight the growing awareness that there is no hard line between our minds and our bodies. As well as between our thoughts, emotions, or physical symptoms.
We exist as one biological system with different access points
This idea may seem daunting at first. But once we are aware of it, people will be easier to understand. If we are a single interconnected and unified system with many access points, the latest discoveries in the field of medicine no longer seem so strange.
Consider, for example, the role of intestinal microflora. The "guest" bacteria that live in our gut affect many "separate" systems in our body. Evidence suggests that the composition of gut bacteria determines whether we have inflammation that leads to heart disease. And these bacteria also affect our serotonin levels, making us happy or depressed.
How can bacteria in the gut cause depression? Previously, we held to the idea that depression is a sphere of the mind and that we can control it. However, modern science suggests that the organisms that live inside us play a big role in this matter. And it only makes sense if we see our body and mind as a single system.
Seeing a CPT referral therapist can give you much more than just the skills to deal with migraine attacks. Perhaps you really rewire your brain.