What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Exercise to Control Migraine Frequency

Too Much of a Good Thing

There are times when a good workout causes more pain than it should and this could be a signal that your exercise program may not be working well for you. Such is the case when an individual is plagued with migraine headaches. Sometimes just the movement of blood through the veins at a higher volume than usual seems to trigger a response of pain in the head.

Knowing How To Adapt Your Exercise to Your Needs

While it's true that exercise can trigger a migraine, the converse is also true. Exercise has the potential to help curb the pain and occurrence of migraine headaches in many people. If you know for certain that your headaches are exercise induced, then it is simple common sense to stop rigorous exercise and opt for something less strenuous. For instance, a long distance runner who pounds the pavement with every step may have to change their discipline for something less intense, like low impact yoga, Pilates or tai chi.

The Problem with Pills

Migraine headaches are, most frequently, intensely painful experiences. A pounding headache may be accompanied by tight muscles in the neck and face, coordination may be affected and nausea may occur. None of these symptoms are pleasant. The victim may end up in bed for hours or days as a result of a migraine. Relying upon drugs for the solution can lead to other problems. Over the counter drugs, which are frequently used by people who are treating their migraines by themselves, have been known to cause stomach and liver problems with extended use. Triptans, which must be taken at the very onset of a migraine, block and shrink blood vessels to control pain. If a person has a history of heart disease or stroke, or if they have high blood pressure, such medication may not be advisable.

Using Exercise as a Form of Treatment

The use of exercise as a form of treatment for migraines can be very effective. Even mild exercise increases the presence of "good hormones" and may act as an antidepressant as well as a very effective stress reliever. Stress and depression can trigger migraines and exercise increases the level of serotonin produced by the brain. It's a natural way to combat the potential onset of a headache as well as boosting low serotonin. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, can also be affected positively by exercise. Migraine sufferers are sometimes deficient in this hormone and as a result have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Exercise can increase the level of melatonin in the body and enhance sleep - dealing with another trigger.

A Time to Run, A Time to Be Still

More than 66 percent of those who suffer with migraine headaches in the US are women. Many of these women encounter migraines during menses when hormones are running rampant. It is not advisable, if a woman is subject to migraines, for her to exercise vigorously during this time. If she has a sound workout program in place, the time she spends in fitness before and after her menstrual cycle will go miles in dealing with negative symptoms of migraine headaches during the entire month.

If fitness is not part of your lifestyle, speak to your doctor and find a fitness professional to work with you to develop the right exercise program for your needs.