Today in the chart

Surprising Ways Quarantine Affects Migraine

While the COVID-19 quarantine is making most people feel anxious, people with migraine may notice that their symptoms are less severe. Some even report fewer attacks and less pain during the pandemic.

While the Covid-19 quarantine makes most people anxious, people with migraines may notice that their symptoms are less severe. Some even report fewer attacks and less pain during the pandemic.

That’s the unexpected result of a survey conducted by phone among migraine patients in Italy. It found that during the quarantine, patients experienced fewer migraine attacks and less pain but exhibited moderate levels of depression and anxiety. The findings were published in Neurological Sciences.

Although the analysis found mild to moderate levels of depression and mild levels of anxiety during two months of quarantine, due to a lack of data, researchers could not compare the information with the period before lockdown.

The study yielded the following results:

  • The Mean (SD) GAMS value was 5.61 (0.76) before and 4.16 (1.46) during quarantine (P < .001).
  • Mean (SD) VAS was 7.49 (1.10) before and 5.47 (1.88) during quarantine (P < .001).

The frequency of triptan utilization for migraine attacks (mean [SD] number pills/week) was 2.84 (2.54) in the period before as opposed to 2.00 (1.78) during quarantine (P = .041).

  • The mean (SD) values of the Beck and Zung scales were 13.10 (7.33) and 22.71 (13.36), respectively, indicating the presence of a mild to moderate level of depression and a normal to a mild level of anxiety during quarantine.
  • Mixed analyses of variance on migraine severity, measured both with GAMS and VAS, showed a main effect on the time of F(1,47) = 12.45 (P = .001) and F(1,47) = 18.87 (P < .001), respectively, indicating an amelioration of migraine symptoms.
  • Time by depression level interaction, F(1,47) = 6.21 (P = .016) and F(1,47) = 14.52 (P < .006), respectively, showed that subjects with lower levels of depression had better course of migraine.

Researchers hypothesized that the prolonged period at home may have reduced outside stressors from work and social activity, thus reducing triggers of migraine attacks.

Furthermore, anxiety and depression could be related to the specific cause of lockdown: the Covid-19 pandemic. However, data did show “an interaction between depression and migraine burden, with a better course of migraine in less depressed subjects.”

Subscribe to our M-F newsletter
Thank you for subscribing! Welcome to The Nursing Beat!
Please enter your email address