A new smartphone-based relaxation app has been developed by the researchers which can help to reduce the frequency of headaches in people who suffer from migraine. The app was experimented on people who suffered from the condition and used the technique at least twice a week. It was found that they experienced on average four fewer headache days per month.
The app is called as RELAXaHEAD and guides the patients through progressive muscle relaxation or PMR. In such a form of behavior therapy, the patients alternately tense and relax different muscle groups to reduce the stress. The study was published in the journal Nature Digital Medicine and is the first to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of an app for treating migraine. The app has been added to the standard therapies like oral medicines under the supervision of a doctor.
Mia Minen, an assistant professor at NYU said, “Our study offers evidence that patients may pursue behavioural therapy if it is easily accessible, they can do it on their own time, and it is affordable. Clinicians need to rethink their treatment approach to migraine because many of the accepted therapies, although proven to be the current, best course of treatment, aren’t working for all lifestyles”. The primary symptoms of migraine include severe head pain which is often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.
The patients with such a condition are often prescribed with drug treatments and behavioral therapy. Many of the patients do not pursue the therapy even after the recommendation of the doctor because of inconvenience and expense. Minen added that the patients often end up taking only medicines. The research team had asked 51 confirmed migraine patients to use the app for 90 days and keep a daily record of the frequency and severity of their headaches. The app kept a track of how long the and often the patients used PMR.
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