Mindfulness and chronic headache/migraine: Mechanisms explored through the fear-avoidance model of chronic pain

Biyanka Komandur, Paul R. Martin, Siavash Bandarian-Balooch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To replicate a study by Schutze and colleagues on a headache sample, rather than a heterogenous chronic pain sample, investigating whether level of mindfulness predicts key components in the Fear-Avoidance Model of chronic pain (pain intensity, negative affect, pain catastrophizing, pain-related fear, pain hypervigilance, and functional disability); to investigate the relationships between level of mindfulness and headache/migraine pain intensity, frequency, and duration. Materials and Methods: Participants were 217 individuals who self-reported chronic headache/migraine (51 male, 166 female), aged between 18 and 65 years. Participants completed an online survey measuring demographics, mindfulness, the key components of the Fear-Avoidance Model, and headache pain intensity, duration, and frequency. Results: Mindfulness had significant negative correlations (P<0.05) with all variables except headache pain intensity and headache frequency. Mindfulness significantly predicted negative affect, pain catastrophizing, fear of pain, pain hypervigilance, and headache duration (P<0.05). Mindfulness remained a significant predictor of negative affect and pain hypervigilance after controlling for other key components and background characteristics (P<0.05). Mindfulness did not moderate the relationship between pain intensity and pain catastrophizing (P=0.204). Discussion: Findings suggest that mindfulness may be integrated into the Fear-Avoidance Model of chronic pain for individuals with chronic headache/migraine. Directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-649
Number of pages12
JournalThe Clinical Journal of Pain
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic pain
  • fear-avoidance model
  • headache/migraine
  • mindfulness

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