Spiritual meditation has been found to reduce the frequency of migraines and physiological reactivity to stress. However, little is known about how introducing a spirituality component into a meditation intervention impacts analgesic medication usage. In this study, 92 meditation-naïve participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: (1) Spiritual Meditation, (n = 25), (2) Internally Focused Secular Meditation (n = 23), (3) Externally Focused Secular Meditation (n = 22), or (4) Progressive Muscle Relaxation (n = 22); and practiced their technique for 20 min/day over 30 days while completing daily diaries. Headache frequency, headache severity, and pain medication use were assessed. Migraine frequency decreased in the Spiritual Meditation group compared to other groups (p < 0.05). Headache severity ratings did not differ across groups (p = ns). After adjusting for headache frequency, migraine medication usage decreased in the Spiritual Meditation group compared to other groups (p < 0.05). Spiritual Meditation was found to not affect pain sensitivity, but it does improve pain tolerance with reduced headache related analgesic medication usage.
Keywords: medication; meditation; migraine; pain; spirituality.