Exercise can be beneficial for sufferers of migraines or headaches

Recent studies have highlighted the beneficial effects of exercise for headache and migraine sufferers.

Two recently published scientific papers concluded that aerobic exercise, in other words exercise that makes you huff and puff:

  • Reduces the intensity of migraine pain
  • Reduces the frequency of migraine.
  • Reduces the number of migraine days
  • Increases the ability to participate in work/study/family activities.

The type of exercise that was looked at included walking, jogging, cycling, and cross training for 30 to 45 minutes a few times a week.

Importantly, this aerobic exercise needs to be a regular part of lifeto have its beneficial effects.

In addition to aerobic exercise, Tension-type headaches and Cervicogenic headaches (those originating in the neck) have been shown to benefit from low load endurance and high load exercise that specifically targets the neck.

Exercise is therefore recommended as a part of treatment for Migraine, Tension-type headache and Cervicogenic headache.

References:
Amin et al. The association between migraine and physical exercise.
The Journal of Headache and Pain (2018) 19:83
Lemmens et al. The effect of aerobic exercise on the number of migraine days, duration and pain intensity in migraine: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis The Journal of Headache and Pain (2019) 20:16
Clinical Practice Guidelines from Ontario Protocol for traffic Injury Management.
L.S. Krøll,  C. Sjödahl Hammarlund,  G. Gard,  R.H. Jensen and L. Bendtsen (2018) Has aerobic exercise effect on pain perception in persons with migraine and co-existing tension-type headache and neck pain? A randomised controlled, clinical trialEJP https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.1228