New SmartPhone app to alleviate migraine headaches

RELAXaHEAD- a smartphone app

RELAXaHEAD- a smartphone app discovered by a team of researchers at NYU School of Medicine allegedly helps to reduce headaches. The new study shows that people who suffer frequent migraine have experienced four fewer days of headaches every month when they used the relaxation app at least twice a week.

According to reports, the app helps users to a progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), and through this method, patients relax and tense different muscle groups which in return reduces stress. “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. 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,” says Mia Minen, a neurologist, MD MPH.

Minen reports that over 36 million people are affected in the United States with migraine. Although patients seek drug treatments and behavioral therapy, Minen says that people rarely follow through, since it is expensive and inconvenient and they end up taking medicine.

To check the compliance of the app, the team analyzed its use by 51 and confirmed that migraine patients at NYU Langone Health all used smartphones. To check the accuracy of the app, users were asked to follow RELAXaHEAD for 90 days and to keep a check on the frequency and severity of their headaches. During this duration, the app also examined the user’s usage of PMR.

The study confirmed that participants had headache 13 days per month. 39% of users also had anxiety, while other 30% suffered from depression. After using the PMR therapy on RELAXaHEAD, results showed a drop of 51% after six weeks and 29% after three months.

This study was published in the Journal Nature Digital Medicine on June 4 which evaluated the clinical effectiveness of the app. Future plans in the wake of the app suggest the team aims towards increasing frequent sessions and it also plans to introduce the app in clinical practices and standard therapies.