Migraine Maintenance and Exercise; Its Effects on a Migraineur’s Body

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Migraine Maintenance and Exercise; Its Effects on a Migraineur’s Body          

       According to the American Migraine Foundation (AMF), exercise can be beneficial for a Migraineur’s mental and physical health.  Evidence suggests regular exercise can reduce the frequency of headache attacks; other areas include stress reduction (which is a migraine trigger), sleep regulation, endorphins simulation (these endorphins play a role in painkilling, mood-elevation), and also exercise combats obesity.

Exercise How So?

     Exercise assists in migraine maintenance, this includes its symptoms triggers on a variety of fronts.  The mood-elevating hormone endorphins act as a body natural painkiller, other areas endorphins stimulate are positive feelings, a sense of well-being, which is an asset for Migraineur due to their increased risk for anxiety and depression. 

     Exercise was recommended due to its benefits to sleep quality, and the relief of stress.  An example listed was of Ms. Caroline Alvo, a certified integrative nutrition and health coach, she improved dramatically from been housebound to participating as a runner in Marathons.  In this example, it was stated that her regular exercise routine was built up gradually.  She stated exercise, “really attacks migraines from all fronts,” during her chat with, AMF’s Move Against Migraine support community.




  The Starting Point  

The AMF states, a Migraineur can maximize the therapeutic benefit of their workout with pacing and preparation routine.  This preparation includes the right gear and a migraine-specific meal plan.  Caloric needs should also be considered when exercise is implemented.  Increase calories with increase exercise, hydration is important (drinking water) prior to exercise is recommended.  Quality gear running shoes for jogging is an expense that will worth the cost.

  Consideration Of Additional Factors

     AMF further explained that people with Chronic Migraines might not start with robust exercise, due to the fact that exercise can trigger migraines.  But Migraineurs can control their migraines, and understand their symptoms, and experimenting with exercise as an arsenal in one’s tool kit this can be a beneficial endeavor. 

     Implementation of a non-pharmacological (medication treatment) solution will not interfere with a Migraineur’s existing pharmacological (medication treatment) plan.  This approach can be worth implementing to reduce the risk of Medication Overuse Headache.  Exercise is an avenue that might play a significant role in pain management for Migraineurs. 

     It was also stated:  One can learn about living with migraine, and its effects from AMF’s resource library. 

Statements From A Migraineur

     Does a Migraineur or anyone take the above statements in all parts; or as the way, and only the way?  Information on illness and conditions should cater to both the positive and negative sides with examples; I love to give a listening ear to another person.  As a sufferer of migraines, I have experienced the different manifestations of this beast.  I started suffering in my younger (childhood) days; they were abdominal pains that would keep me sometimes out of school.  I was not diagnosed then, but in my teenage years, I was able to receive a diagnosis by visiting a private doctor, rather than a public clinic, living here in the USA, my visit to my first neurologist did not diagnose my condition.  I already knew my diagnosis, and try to maintain my lifestyle to prevent such attacks.  First, in my teenage years, I was diagnosed with Sinus Headaches, eventually migraines.

     After leaving my teenage years to my twenties (20’s), the migraines followed, though I was able to go to school, and function at work, sometimes with a pain level of 8/10 (on the pain scale) headache, this was up to 80% of the times.  Yes, I had a high tolerance for pain, I could laugh with you during the worst times, yes, I can still laugh with you without another individual realizing my current condition, unless you are close to me, and sometimes they cannot tell about my condition.  This information needs to be listed to continue with my further statements.

  The above-listed strategies were implemented and worked for a certain period of time, and some individuals might not be able to function with these recommendations even without hemiplegic migraine attacks.  Today, which is in 2019 I am a suffer from hemiplegic migraines, these attacks usually attack one side of the body, therefore its name represents.  During these attacks, they can range from no pain headaches with the physical manifestation of weakness, fatigue, and gait difficulty to excruciating pains.  Yes pains, some of my symptoms during an attack, facial, and body numbness, sometimes facial droop on the affected side.  The past five and a half years I have been engaged in the hemiplegic migraine war. 

     Some symptoms during the past years range from facial numbness, sometimes paralysis and affected areas are the mouth, the jaw, the throat yes, my vision yes my eyes get cloudy, and ocular pain.  This is just a small area, my arms, legs, chest, thighs, and the entire area from scalp to the bottom of one's feet is affected by attacks.  Yes, I have tried implementing minimal exercise even with trained Physical Therapists, attacks happen during this minimal stimulation. 

     I have an ongoing statement, “Not everyone is a textbook patient”.  This knowledge should be shared if a patient does not fit the narrative, what happens to those patients that are left out?  Can we just ignored these examples, and just paint the pretty picture? 

     Exercise and management of migraines should be reviewed with one’s medical team.  As stated that exercise can aggravate migraines, it is worst to those with hemiplegic migraines to the point of compromising one's base level.  Each person is unique in their Migraine body, what works for person A, might not work for persons B, C, D, or F.  Having a unique understanding of such a matter, and empathy can allow individuals, and organizations to take Migraineurs as individuals and their illness.


     Individuals might use such an argument or statement as listed in your article and wipe/judge or ostracize a Migraineur, and manipulate the sufferers.  Yes, exercise is important to what extent, individuals might believe they need more, which might cause physical and moral injury.  Stated during the article, Migraineurs are at an increased risk for anxiety and depression, individuals might think more exercise is needed resulting in setbacks. 

     Education and coverage on such a topic should cover both sides, Migraineurs will celebrate Ms. Alvo’s accomplishments, but a celebration while downplaying the effects that exercise can cause on others is not responsible behavior.  As regards to exercise, and the extent of such, due to the stress from exercise, a Migraineur’s Medical team should be consulted; hopefully, they are armed with the correct information to complement each patient. 



American Migraine Foundation:






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