Monday, March 30, 2009

Specific Indoor Exercise Program May Help Migraineurs

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A study published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain has sparked another round of headlines proclaiming that exercise is a solution for migraine suffers.

Exercise Reduces Migraine Suffering, Study Finds

As is so often true, this headline is misleading.
It is overly simplistic to state that any exercise would help any migraineur.

The research in this study was conducted on a specific program of indoor cycling designed to improve oxygen intake without worsening study the participants' migraines. The researchers found that while participating in this specific program the patients' migraines did not become worse and that they experienced fewer migraines in the last month of the study. Participants also experienced fewer days of headache per month, reduced headache intensity and used less treatment medication.

A co-author of the study said the optimal level of exercise for migraineurs remains unclear, but the exercise program used in this study warrants further examination as a possible method of helping prevent migraine attacks.

For now it's probably safe to assume that your best bet for exercising as a migraineur is to consider your triggers and do what you can to minimize them. If exertion is a trigger, stick to low impact exercise, such as walking or swimming. If becoming overheated is a trigger, exercising indoors can help you keep yourself cool. You should also be sure to keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

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