Which migraine headache therapy do you believe is most effective for migraine prevention– exercise, relaxation, or Topamax? Well, some researchers from Sweden compared the individual effect of each of the three migraine remedies on patients, with some surprising results.
What’s your migraine trigger?
Anybody who has ever known the agonizing symptoms of a migraine is willing to try almost anything to make them go away. Throbbing, excruciating head pain, nausea, eye sensitivity, vomiting, and visual impairments plague millions of migraine sufferers around the world.
And because migraine triggers vary greatly by patient, determining the cause of your migraines can take considerable time, effort, and patience. Headache specialists have the task of isolating individual triggers from food, hormones, weather, and lifestyle habits before they can recommend the most efficient cure for migraines.
Exercise: Migraine trigger or migraine treatment?
If you suffer exercise headaches, then the last thing you want to do is hop on the treadmill. Exertional migraines are triggered by strenuous exercise, in addition to sneezing, coughing, strong bowel movements, and sexual intercourse. But for many other people afflicted with chronic illness, daily exercise can be therapeutic in relieving stress, pain symptoms, depression, and fatigue.
Scientists in Sweden began to wonder if leading an active lifestyle would benefit migraine patients, and if exercise therapy could hold up on its own against relaxation therapy and migraine drug therapy, such as Topamax (topiramate).
Scientific study on migraines and exercise
October, 2011: A study focusing on exercise, relaxation, and Topamax as migraine prevention proposed the following hypothesis:
Can exercising for 40 minutes, three times per week, relieve migraines as effectively as using guided relaxation or Topamax (up to 200 mg) every day?
- In a three-month period, ninety-one migraine headache patients were observed by researchers for migraine symptoms, quality of life, fitness levels, and oxygen resuscitation.
- Their aim was to compare any changes in migraine frequency between the first and last months of treatment.
- In the group that received exercise therapy, migraine symptoms decreased in frequency by 95%.
- Migraine patients who received relaxation therapy or Topamax treatments also saw a 95% reduction in migraine frequency.
- Conclusion: Exercise is just as effective as relaxation and Topamax medication in preventing migraines.
- Results of the University of Gothenburg study are available in Cephalalgia.
Why are these results important?
Anybody trying to wean off prescription migraine treatments should be heartened by the news that healthier, more natural alternative migraine remedies are available, and the scientific research is there to prove it.
Topamax produces harmful side effects with long-term use. Side effects of Topamax may include:
- Short-term memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Constantly being at a loss for words
- “Brain fog”
- Decreased reasoning skills
- Difficulty putting your thoughts together
Fortunately, the harmful side effects of Topamax disappear once you get the drug out of your system.
Additional natural migraine treatments
A growing body of research confirms the beneficial properties of other natural ingredients for migraines, such as vitamin supplements and herbs.
- Coenzyme Q10: This powerful nutrient is effective at providing antioxidant protection, maintaining heart health, regulating already healthy blood-sugar levels, and maintaining the body’s natural defenses.
- Butterbur: For hundreds of years, herbalists have used butterbur clippings to relieve minor pain, support healthy muscle and joint functioning, promote a healthy response to inflammation, and maintain proper immune system health.
- Magnesium: Many doctors believe that magnesium deficiency correlates with migraine attacks. In a recent study, migraine patients who received magnesium supplements experienced dramatic benefits.
- Riboflavin: In a study published by Neurology, 400 mg of vitamin B2 (riboﬂavin) administered for three months resulted in significantly more favorable results than the placebo.
Read more about migraine prevention:
8 Ways to Avoid Exercise Headaches after Working Out
Exercise as migraine prophylaxis: A randomized study using relaxation and topiramate as controls- PubMed, NCBI
Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis- A randomized controlled trial-PubMed, NCBI
Exercise shots- lululemon athletica, Butterbur- amortize