Yoga Might Be Effective on Migraines

Jan 07, 2016, by Dr. Becky Coats

Yoga Migraine Effectiveness

We all have that annoying friend who is always telling us how much better our life would be if we only did yoga. And then they gush on about their new yogi, or their latest favorite pose, or whatever new style of yoga they’re into today. Blah, blah, blah.

But sometimes they have a point. Yoga can actually be helpful for many health conditions, and it can definitely improve your mood. It might even be good for migraines.

A Good Adjunct to Conventional Care

There are very few good studies about how well yoga works on various health conditions, and there’s really only one good one on yoga and migraines, and it’s even pretty small. The study focuses on just 60 people who were assigned to receive either conventional care or conventional care plus yoga. Over the six weeks of follow-up, both groups saw improvement in their migraines, but the yoga group got a lot better.

Conventional care led to a drop of migraines from ten per month to five per month, but the yoga group had a bigger drop, from 11 per month to just two! And yoga helped reduce the intensity of migraines, too. With conventional care only, migraine intensity on a ten point scale dropped from 9.3 to 7.7. In the yoga group, intensity dropped from 8.7 to 2.0!. That’s a really huge improvement.

Again, it’s only a small study and not very long, so we shouldn’t get too excited about the results.

How to Try Yoga for Migraines

But yoga is an easy addition to conventional care. It’s unlikely to cause any problems, either, so there’s no reason not to give it a try. Some people recommend some specific poses for migraines. Common ones are the cat pose, child’s pose, and seated spinal twist.

Or you can try the yoga program used in the study, which included a set of simple stretches and surya namaskar, a commonly used sequence of poses. Then they went into other poses known as Padahasthasana, Ardha chakrasana, Trikonasana, Bhujangasana, Vakrasana, and Ustrasana. They ended in the Shavasana pose and engaged in Yoga Nidra meditation.

A Different Approach to the Same Goal

Most of the time when people advocate yoga for conditions like migraines, they put emphasis on relaxing muscle tension in your head, neck, and back. Another good question would be: why are my muscles so tense in the first place?

Often, it’s because of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), where an imbalance in your jaw causes tension in jaw muscles that gets passed on to other muscles in the region. TMJ treatment can address this root cause of tension and give you long-lasting relief.

The downside of this treatment is that you don’t have an excuse to buy all those cute yoga clothes. The upside is that you can now combat your friend’s yoga chatter by telling them how TMJ treatment alleviated your headaches, jaw pain, back pain, earaches, and more!

If you think TMJ might be partly responsible for your symptoms like migraines in Dallas, please call (817) 481-6888 for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at Grapevine Dental Care.