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Progressive Muscle Relaxation App Tied to Fewer Migraines

Last Updated: June 06, 2019.

Use of a progressive muscle relaxation smartphone app is associated with a reduction in headache days among adults with migraines, according to a pilot study published online June 4 in Nature Digital Medicine.

THURSDAY, June 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Use of a progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) smartphone app is associated with a reduction in headache days among adults with migraines, according to a pilot study published online June 4 in Nature Digital Medicine.

Mia Minen, M.D., M.P.H., from New York University Langone Health in New York City, and colleagues evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of smartphone-based PMR for migraine in a neurology setting. Fifty-one adults (94 percent female; mean age, 39 years) with diagnosed migraines, at least four headache days per month, a smartphone, and no prior behavioral migraine therapy in the previous year completed a daily headache diary and participated in PMR for 20 minutes per day for 90 days.

The researchers report that participants played PMR on an average of 22 days, with a mean duration of 11 minutes. Just under half of participants (47 percent) used PMR at least one time per week and 35 percent used PMR at least two times per week. High users (PMR at least two days per week in the first month) had four fewer days of reported headaches in month 2 versus month 1. In contrast, low PMR users (PMR less than two days per week in the first month) had two fewer headache days in month 2. There was a negative association between depression score and both the odds of using the diary at least once in a week (odds ratio [OR], 0.70) and of doing the PMR at least once in a week (odds ratio, 0.77). There was a positive association between anxiety scores and using the diary at least once every week (odds ratio, 1.33) and with doing the PMR at least once every week (odds ratio, 1.14).

"Our study offers evidence that patients may pursue behavioral therapy if it is easily accessible, they can do it on their own time, and it is affordable," Minen said in a statement.

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