The use of smartphone-based progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) therapy was found to be associated with a reduction in monthly headache days and depression scores in patients with migraine, according to study results published in Digital Medicine.

The study included 51 adults with migraine, as assessed based on International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition criteria, with ≥4 monthly headache days and a smartphone, who had not had behavioral migraine therapy in the past year. Participants completed a daily headache diary and were asked to perform PMR for 20 minutes per day for 90 days. Outcomes included adherence to PMR (number and duration of audio plays) and frequency of diary use.

Of the 51 participants, 63% had severe migraine disability at baseline, as indicated by Migraine Disability Assessment scores. On average, participants played PMR 22±21 days, with a mean session duration of 11±7 minutes. High application users (ie, users doing PMR for ≥2 days per week in the first month) had an average of 4 fewer days of reported headache days in month 2 vs month 1 compared with low users (ie, doing PMR for <2 days per week in the first month), who had an average of 2 fewer headache days in month 2 compared with month 1.

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Depression scores on the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) were found to be negatively associated with the log odds of using the diary ≥1 time in a week compared with the absence of use (odds ratio [OR], 0.70; 95% CI, 0.55-0.85), and to be negatively associated with doing PMR ≥1 time every week (OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.68-0.91).

PROMIS anxiety scores were positively associated with using the diary ≥1 time in a week (OR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.09-1.73) and doing PMR ≥1 time every week (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.02-1.31).

“This is a promising area given its low cost, scalable method, and future studies can begin to examine efficacy,” the researchers noted.

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Minen MT, Adhikari S, Seng EK, et al. Smartphone-based migraine behavioral therapy: a single-arm study with assessment of mental health predictors [published online June 4, 2019]. NPJ Digit Med. doi:10.1038/s41746-019-0116-y

This article originally appeared on Clinical Pain Advisor