Background: Migraine accounts for substantial suffering and disability. Previous studies show cross-sectional associations between higher pain acceptance and lower headache-related disability in individuals with migraine, but none has evaluated this association longitudinally during migraine treatment.
Purpose: This study evaluated whether changes in pain acceptance were associated with changes in headache-related disability and migraine characteristics in a randomized controlled trial (Women's Health and Migraine) that compared effects of behavioral weight loss (BWL) treatment and migraine education (ME) on headache frequency in women with migraine and overweight/obesity.
Methods: This was a post hoc analysis of 110 adult women with comorbid migraine and overweight/obesity who received 16 weeks of either BWL or ME. Linear and nonlinear mixed effects modeling methods were used to test for between-group differences in change in pain acceptance, and also to examine the association between change in pain acceptance and change in headache disability.
Results: BWL and ME did not differ on improvement in pain acceptance from baseline across post-treatment and follow-up. Improvement in pain acceptance was associated with reduced headache disability, even when controlling for intervention-related improvements in migraine frequency, headache duration, and pain intensity.
Conclusions: This study is the first to show that improvements in pain acceptance following two different treatments are associated with greater reductions in headache-related disability, suggesting a potential new target for intervention development.
Clinical trials information: NCT01197196.
Keywords: Acceptance; Disability; Headache; Migraine; Obesity; Pain.
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