While other forms of exercise may trigger headaches among migraine patients, a new aerobic exercise programme is well tolerated by them. A new study also found that the programme decreased the frequency of headaches and improved quality of life.
The study used a sample of migraine sufferers who were examined before, during and after an aerobic exercise intervention.
The programme was based on indoor cycling (for continuous aerobic exercise), designed to improve maximum oxygen intake without worsening their condition.
After the treatment period, patients' maximum oxygen uptake increased significantly. There was no worsening of migraine status at any time during the study period and during the last month of treatment.
Migraine attacks decreased significantly, so did its frequency over the month. Those suffering from headache and migraine typically are less physically active than those without a headache.
"While the optimal amount of exercise for patients with migraine remains unknown, our evaluated programme can now be tested further and compared to pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments to see if exercise can prevent migraine," said Emma Varkey, Cephalea Headache Centre, Sweden and co-author of the study, according to a Cephalea release.
The study was published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain.