In Argentina, one in 10 adults suffers from migraine, according to the first prevalence study carried out in the country. It is a moderate to severe headache (throbbing, usually on one side), often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light or noise. In severe cases, the discomfort is so great that it makes unbearable daily activities of those who suffer from it. The exercise is one of the measures that can help prevent triggers, however, according to a study conducted in the United States, more than two out of three people with migraine do not get enough physical activity.
“Migraine is a disabling condition It affects millions of people, and yet regular exercise can be an effective way to reduce frequency and intensity some migraines, “says study author Mason Dyess of the University of Washington in Seattle and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.
Why does physical activity help prevent triggers? “Exercise frees natural painkillers called endorphins, it helps people sleep better and reduce the stress. But if people with migraines don’t exercise, they may not get these benefits, “he says.
Stress and poor rest are triggers for migraines. Photo Shuttertock.
Dyess led the study that involved nearly 5,000 people diagnosed with migraine. Three-quarters of the participants had chronic migraine, that is, 15 or more episodes per month; the rest experienced episodic migraine (up to 14).
The participants completed a questionnaire about the characteristics of their migraine, quality of sleep, depression, stress, anxiety and the amount of moderate to vigorous exercise they did per week. The types of exercise they rated as moderate to vigorous included jogging, walking very fast, playing a sport, cleaning a lot, and riding a bike.
The participants were divided into five groups according to the level of weekly exercise from moderate to vigorous: completely sedentary people; those who exercised for up to 30 minutes; 31 to 90 minutes; 91 to 150 minutes; more than 150 minutes per week.
The researchers found that those who make a minimum of two and a half hours of activity of that intensity per week had a reduced rate of migraine triggers such as stress, depression, and trouble sleeping. The work, of which preliminary results were known, will be presented at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in April.
Two and a half hours a week of moderate to vigorous exercise, or 150 minutes, is the minimum amount of exercise recommended by the World Health Organization.
Physical exercise releases endorphins, a natural pain reliever. Photo Shutterstock.
Just 27% of the people in the study reported getting the most exercise. In the rest, higher rates of factors that can predispose to migraine symptoms were observed.
The depression it was reported by almost half (47%) of the people in the group who did not exercise, and only one in four (25%) in the most active group.
In addition, 39% of people in the sedentary group reported anxiety compared to 28% of people in the high exercise group. that 77% of sedentary participants reported sleeping problems compared to 61% of the high-exercise group.
The researchers also found a association between exercise and risk of migraines. Among those who did not do physical activity, 5% reported a low frequency of headache (zero to four headache days per month), and 48% had a high frequency (25 or more). In the high exercise group, 10% had low frequency and 28% high.
“There are new available migraine treatments, but they are very expensive. People with migraine should consider incorporate more exercise into your life daily because it can be a safe and inexpensive way to manage and minimize some of the other problems that often accompany the chart, “concluded the lead author of the paper.
The researchers noted that one of the limitations of the study was that participants reported weekly exercise minutes rather than having their activity monitored with a device, so this research only shows associations Between exercise and migraine triggers, it doesn’t prove cause and effect.
In migraine, the intense, throbbing pain usually occurs on only one side of the head.
How to know if you have a migraine
Answering affirmatively to four of the questions on the MS-Q (Migraine Screen Questionnaire), a simple internationally validated questionnaire, could indicate that you suffer from migraine, so you should consult a professional
1. Do you have frequent headaches?
2. Do your headaches usually last more than 4 hours? (without taking painkillers)
3. Do you have nausea when you have a headache?
4. Are you bothered by light or noise when you have a headache?
5. Does the headache limit your physical or intellectual activities?