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Does Exercise Help Migraines Go Away

How To Get Rid Of Migraines Stop Them Before They Start

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  • Migraines affect more than 37 million people in the U.S.
  • Chocolate, aged cheeses, wine and dark beers can trigger migraines.
  • Migraines can be a stroke risk factor. If you have a migraine with stroke-like symptoms including weakness on one side of the body, seek medical attention.

Migraines affect more than 37 million people in the U.S. With the stress and disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are feeling the pain. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to treat migrainesand prevent them in the first place. A virtual visit with your primary care provider is an ideal way to seek relief, offering medical expertise from the comfort, convenience and privacy of your home.

Before we go any further: If youre experiencing a sudden, severe headache or if you have stroke-like symptoms such as weakness on one side of your body or slurred speech, seek medical treatment right away.

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Are Certain Workouts More Likely To Trigger Migraine Headaches

As Dr. Bain mentioned earlier, more strenuous and high-intensity activities like rowing, running, playing tennis, swimming and weight lifting are prone to triggering headaches. However, a recent study found that high-intensity interval training, or HITT, is effective in reducing migraines in addition to moderate continuous exercise.

âMy sense is that low to moderate intensity workouts do not precipitate headaches as much as high-intensity workouts, though the study seems to contradict this,â Dr. Bain says.

One reason behind Dr. Bainâs prediction include the fact that HIIT is associated with more significant increases in blood pressure and heart rateâtwo factors may contribute to head pain. Despite ambiguity on the matter, as with all triggers, the exercise that incites a migraine in one person may not trigger any pain in another. Therefore, itâs best to determine what fitness regime works best for you, personally.

What Does A Migraine Feel Like

Anyone who has ever experienced a migraine might know that it is not the same as getting a common daily headache, its quite different. This is mainly because the intensity of the pain is greater, and it is accompanied by several other enervating symptoms.

This condition is in simple language a severe headache, that begins from one side of the head and is usually accompanied by nausea or sensitivity to light and sound. This is a result of temporary changes in nerve conduction within the brain.

Migraine causes inflammatory changes in the nerve cells that cause that striking pain in the head.

Before a migraine pain begins, some people experience aura. Aura is the flashes of light or tingling sensations experienced in the limbs. While some people report irritability, certain food cravings, or feelings of depression before the migraine strikes.

Once your symptoms of migraine headaches start, you may become specifically sensitive to light or noises.

One may also feel nauseous or feel like throwing up. This striking pain and symptoms accompanying it can last anywhere between few hours to several days.

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The Problem With Medication

People with severe migraines are often given prescriptions for vasoconstrictors , which solve that pesky problem of those floppy enlarged blood vessels in your brain that started this whole mess in the first place. For many, these medications are a godsend. At the first sign of a migraine you just pop one and poof its all gone. You also get a nice little nugget of euphoria to go along with it. Im not going to lie I LOVED my Imitrex. I wouldnt leave the house without it. It helped me finally be able to function in everyday life again without being worried that a migraine would strike. Then, things started to go downhill. The migraines started to get more frequent and more intense. Eventually, I would have to take 3 or 4 Imitrex to get rid of a migraine. Sometimes no amount of drugs would make me feel better. I knew deep inside that something was wrong with all of this. One day, a few years ago, I stumbled across an article discussing the effects of vasoconstrictors on migraines. The idea is that, as with anything in life, when you do things the easy way, you get lazy. Well, my blood vessels were lazy little bastards. They were relying on the medicine for so long that they forgot how to constrict all by themselves. Hence the frequent pain I was feeling that was growing more intense every day.

So, what can you do to drastically decrease your migraines in intensity and frequency? The following is what worked for me.

Drink A Small Amount Of Caffeine

Does Exercise Help Migraines Go Away?

Although caffeine can cause headaches of its own in large amounts, a small dose of a beverage like coffee or soda can soothe the pain of an intense migraine.

When you drink caffeine, it can offer pain relieving benefitsâas long as you drink just a small amount, as the Mayo Clinic notes. If you drink it right when you feel a migraine beginning to appear, it can also improve the effects of Tylenol, aspirin, and other over-the-counter pain relievers .

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Whatever you choose to calm your intense migraine pain, keep track of what you eat, drink, and do when you get them. Finding the trigger to your headaches can help you avoid them in the future. Avoiding certain foods, ingredients, and activities, you can keep migraines at bay and not have to endure their awful reign.

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Should You Seek Medical Help If You Experience Chronic Headaches During Or After A Workout

Unfortunately, some pain is inevitable for those who experience exercise-related headaches. However, itâs important to recognize when your condition may pose a serious threat to your health, and when to call a doctor.

If your headaches are new or different than usual, or if they last longer than an hour or two, Dr. Bain recommends talking to a doctor, especially if youâre over 40 years old. More immediate medical attention is required in the case of symptoms like nausea and/or vomiting, and unusual neurological symptoms like double vision, a droopy face, slurred speech, or weakness of an arm or a leg.

âIf your headache comes on suddenly, like a clap of thunder, you should go to the emergency room quickly,â Dr. Bain says. âIf you have a seizure around the time of your headache, you should seek evaluation as soon as possible.â

Due to the overlap between both primary and secondary exercise headaches, itâs never a bad idea to seek professional advice, Dr. Bain says.

Your doctor can facilitate a scan of your brain tissue via computed tomography scan or magnetic resonance imaging , or administer another test called a magnetic resonance angiogram that specifically looks at your blood vessels to see if your arteries have torn.

Find Your Triggers And Try To Avoid Them

Working too hard is the main cause of exertion headaches. But like migraines, this type of headache also has triggers, . Dehydration, sleep deprivation, blood pressure issues and your food and drink choices could all trigger an exertion headache after or during a workout.

Your best defense in this situation? Keeping well-hydrated, eating regularly, and getting enough sleep, to see if those changes keep the after-exercise head pain at bay, Erin Manning, MD, assistant attending neurologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, tells Health.

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Symptoms Of A Hangover

If you’ve had one too many drinks, you may experience a hangover the following day. Unfortunately, there’s no formula for how many drinks you can have without experiencing a hangover the following day, according to the Mayo Clinic. So, drink safely and in moderation.

Hangovers typically last about 24 hours and begin as your blood alcohol level begins to drop towards zero, according to the Mayo Clinic. Depending on how much you drank, you may experience symptoms like fatigue, headache and muscle ache, increased light and sound sensitivity and mood disturbance, among others.

As a diuretic, alcohol causes more frequent urination, which can result in dehydration. Typically, dehydration is paired with symptoms like extreme thirst, dry mouth or dizziness. This is why it’s important to hydrate both as you drink alcohol and after you’ve had a few.

Increase Your Turkey Intake

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You’ve heard that eating turkey on Thanksgiving can make you sleepy thanks to its tryptophan. Did you know that it can also help you to find relief from migraine pain faster?

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that stimulates dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the “happy” chemical, one that helps us to feel great, and it is also a key component in the release of serotonin within the body. Serotonin works to relax the body, alleviating anxiety, worry, and negativity. Even more importantly, as tryptophan helps to produce dopamine and, in turn, serotonin, it relaxes the muscles surrounding the brain, soothing the capillaries of the scalp.

Image via Shutterstock

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Exercise Can Prevent Migraines But Don’t Work Out If You Have One Experts Say

If you’ve experienced a migraine, you know it can be downright debilitating. But you might be wondering if it’s a good idea to hit the gym or turn on your favorite YouTube workout video when your symptoms strike. After all, no pain, no gain, right? Wrong. Two experts warn against exercising during a migraine, but they agree that exercise can help prevent migraines in the long run.

Staying The Course By Setting Goals

Setting short and long term goals are important for getting where you want to be. One strategy for setting short-term goals is to incrementally move yourself along the FITT spectrum. For example, your goals could be:

  • Frequency: Increasing from three days per week to four
  • Intensity: Increasing from a slow walk to a brisk walk, or from a brisk walk to a jog
  • Time: Increasing from 5 minutes a day to 7, or from 25 minutes to 30 minutes
  • Type: Adding a yoga session to your weekly walking routine

Achieving each of those steps can get you closer to a longer-term goal you can set for yourself. A long-term goal is something you want to achieve in six or 12 months, or even farther into the future. For example, those might be:

  • Losing excess weight and keeping it off
  • Attending someones wedding
  • Participating in a local run/walk event

For a run/walk goal that also relates to migraine, Miles for Migraine holds events throughout the year, via 24 chapters around the country. Since 2008, Miles for Migraine has raised over $1 million for migraine research and education through events that revolve around fitness. Exercise is something people with migraine can work up to for their own health, and share their success, says executive director Shirley Kessel, who herself keeps a daily fitness routine to manage migraine. The idea is to get people together to feel supported.

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Warm Up And Cool Down

Jumping right into your routine without warming up first could trigger a migraine, Gaz says. Instead, try taking a five-minute walk before you start running, jogging, or cycling. If youre doing resistance training, try warming up with some light weights first, Gaz says.

After your workout, take a five-minute walk or do gentle stretches to help lower your heart rate and blood pressure. This also can help eliminate some of the post-exercise muscle soreness that comes with resistance training, he says.

Design Of An Exercise Intervention

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To fully explore whether exercise could cause a reduction in headache, however, would ideally utilize an intervention and a randomized trial. Varkey and colleagues recently pursued this question directly by designing and validating a three times per week, 12 week indoor cycling intervention in migraine patients, using an increase in maximal oxygen uptake as a measure of cardiovascular conditioning . This was a supervised intervention, in which the subjects met with the investigator weekly, who was an exercise physiologist and physical therapist. Here they also characterized how they would assess the migraine history, including the diary, the recording of headache medications, side effects, and overall quality of life .

Varkey and colleagues then went on to undertake a prospective, randomized, controlled trial of adults meeting the ICHD-II criteria for migraine with a frequency of 2-8 attacks per month, among those who were not already exercising regularly . The study of 91 subjects randomized with the intention to treat 30 subjects with home relaxation, 30 subjects with exercise, and 31 subjects with topiramate at up to 100 mg twice a day. The evaluation period included a 4-12 week baseline headache calendar, a 12-week intervention period in which the frequency of migraine attacks during the last 4 weeks of the intervention was the primary outcome, and an extended follow up period.

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Remove Sensitive Or Trigger Foods

One of the first places to look and one of the biggest clinical relievers of headaches is removing sensitive foods.

There are different types of sensitive and trigger foods that can continue aggravating our brains and bodies.

But theres a catch, they are different for everyone.

Some people do well with coffee, others are sent into rebound by it.

Some people do well with high histamine foods, others cannot tolerate them.

But there are a few common links between most people with food triggers:

The gut isnt functioning properly

Immune system is aggravated

Detoxification is overloaded or compromised

Now when we talk about sensitive and trigger foods we can get into an amazing discussion about the gut-brain connection and how the health of our gut is directly proportional to the health of our brain.

But that is beyond the scope of this article as it would take 5000 words to cover and if youd like to learn how food triggers can make or break your head healing program,

To make it simple we can cover what are called the common 10 trigger foods.

These foods are what some food studies have found to be the most commonly aggravating foods to migraine and headache sufferers.

This list is definitely not an end all be all list but includes:

  • Wheat

  • Cane sugar

  • Yeast

If all of these are sensitive then its important to remember that something deeper is going on that is disrupting gut function which needs to be addressed first.

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How To Get Rid Of Nausea With Home Remedies

Migraine induced nausea can be just as disabling as the head pain itself and sometimes even more so. Treating the symptoms of an attack, either over the counter or with prescriptions, can help lessen the burden of Migraine and throwing up and get you back to your normal, healthy activities more quickly. Here are a few worth trying:

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What Causes Exercise Headaches

Well, it depends. There are two main types of headaches that are triggered during or after exercise, Dr. Bain explains. The first, primary exertional headaches , have no obvious cause, though doctors believe physical activity can dilate blood vessels in the brain, translating to pain.

Another possibility is that elevated blood pressure due to strenuous exercise can cause a headache or migraine. While exact reasoning behind primary exercise headaches is unclear, the good news is that these headaches, though painful, are relatively harmless.

Ginger Can Help Migraines

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Though more research is needed, in one study powdered ginger appeared to be as effective at reducing headache pain as a common prescription migraine medicine, sumatriptan. You can easily incorporate powdered or fresh grated ginger in many recipes to add a delicious kick. Or, you can try this comforting recipe for turmeric-ginger tea.

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Use Correct Posture When Exercising

Using the wrong form while you exercise can place extra stress on your head, neck, and shoulders, which can trigger a migraine, Kriegler says. An exercise specialist can help correct your form, Gaz says. You can also get tips from online exercise videos.

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Headache Or Migraine That Is The Question

Headaches sometimes tell you about your lifestyle: your life is too hectic, you arent getting enough sleep, you have poor posture at work, or youve had too much alcohol to drink. Often, the headache is talking to you, and you answer by taking a painkiller which, most of the time, makes it go away without further ado. Yet for some, less fortunate people, this pain is a backdrop to their daily lives. In this case, we say they suffer from migraines.

It is important to distinguish between headaches, technically known as cephalalgia, and migraines. There are several types of headaches. We will start by describing the three most common: tension headaches, cluster headaches, and migraine headaches.

  • Tension headaches:This type of headache may be occasional or chronic. Symptoms are of mild to moderate intensity. Pressure is felt around the forehead and temples sometimes it is accompanied by neck pain. This type of headache does not cause nausea or vomiting.
  • Cluster headaches:This type of headache may occur from once every two days to eight times a day it lasts from a few minutes to several hours. The pain is very intense, penetrating but not pulsating, and is located on just one side of the head. The pain may be accompanied by tears, congestion and sweating.
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