While there is no research on the use of the Jesus Prayer and relief from headaches there is some research from those who meditate.
Meditation has been shown to help offset the symptoms of chronic pain, including headaches. One study showed that 72 percent of patients with chronic pain who underwent meditation training, reported significant reductions in their level of pain. In another study, patients who practiced meditation experienced fewer migraine headaches, enhanced their pain tolerance, and reported a greater sense of well-being.The Jesus Prayer is quite different than meditation as it is an prayer in communication with God. But there are many similarities to the regular practice of this prayer that are similar to meditation. The Jesus prayer should be much more effective than meditation as it does call on God for His mercy.
The regular practice of the Jesus prayer requires at least 15 minutes per day where you can set aside all daily cares and quietly in your mind repeat the prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me." One will find that this is not an easy task as our minds are very active and we will observe many distracting thoughts while we try to pray in this way. Gradually as we keep up a daily practice we will gain in our ability to concentrate on the words of the prayer. As we gain in this way, our mind becomes quiet, our body relaxes, and our heart opens to God. This opening then allow His grace to flow through us bringing any healing power as God wills for us.
With the practice, when we feel a headache coming on, we can stop for a few minutes and repeat this prayer until the pain subsides. We don't have to wait for the actual headache to intervene with a prayer. Here are some symptoms that are known to be precursors to and headache: Fatigue, mood changes, food cravings, loss of appetite, yawning, increased urination, and muscle stiffness. We can observe our own situation and learn to recognize these warning signs. There are also some common triggers that can be avoided. They are: Caffeine, chocolate, aged cheese, red wine, hormonal changes, stress, and too much or to little sleep.
To learn more about the practice of the Jesus Prayer in your daily life, you can go the the OrthodoxPrayer.org website and enter the section labeled Jesus Prayer.
The power in this prayer comes from the name, "Jesus". Its practice requires humility realizing that we cannot control everything in this world, including our aches and pains. Its practice is both a worship of God and a discipline with similarities to many meditation techniques. It is not an easy practice and takes patience and endurance. Research has shown that it actually causes a change in neurological networks of our brain. One must first have faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.