Exercise May Help Reduce Migraine Frequency


Regular exercise worked as well as medication and guided relaxation as a therapy to reduce migraine frequency in a Swedish trial.

Regular exercise reduced migraine frequency as well as medication and relaxation techniques in a trial conducted by researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Results of the trial were published online earlier this month in the journal Cephalalgia.

The researchers set up a randomized, controlled trial in which adults with migraine received one of three therapies for the condition: exercise for 40 minutes three times per week; relaxation guided by a recording; or daily topiramate use, gradually increasing to the highest dose an individual could tolerate, with a maximum dose of 200 mg/day.

The trial included 91 participants and lasted three months, during which migraine status, quality of life, level of physical activity, and oxygen uptake were recorded. The primary efficacy variable was the average reduction in the frequency of migraine attacks during the final month of treatment compared to the baseline rate.

The results indicated that there was no significant difference in improvement among the groups. The exercise group had an average reduction of 0.93 migraines per month, compared with a reduction of 0.83 attacks in the relaxation group and a reduction of 0.97 in the topiramate group.

The researchers concluded that exercise could be a means of preventing migraines for patients who do not find medication helpful or do not want to take it.


Exercise as migraine prophylaxis: A randomized study using relaxation and topiramate as controls (abstract) [Cephalalgia]

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