While physical exercise has been shown to trigger migraine headaches among sufferers, a new study suggests that aerobics can significantly reduce the suffering.
During the study, researchers examined a sample of migraine sufferers before, during and after the aerobic exercise intervention program.
The program was based on indoor cycling (for continuous aerobic exercise) and was designed to improve maximal oxygen uptake without worsening the patients' migraines.
The findings revealed that after the treatment period, patients' maximum oxygen uptake increased significantly.
There was no worsening of migraine status at any time during the study period.
During the last month of treatment, there was a significant decrease in the number of migraine attacks, the number of days with migraine per month, headache intensity and amount of headache medication used.
Individuals with headache and migraine typically are less physically active. They often avoid exercise, resulting in less aerobic endurance and flexibility.
Therefore, well-designed studies of exercise in patients with migraine are imperative.
"While the optimal amount of exercise for patients with migraine remains unknown, our evaluated program can now be tested further and compared to pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments to see if exercise can prevent migraine," said Dr. Emma Varkey, co-author of the study.