Exercising for just two and a half hours a week can lower your risk of migraine headaches, a new study suggests.
Researchers at a headache clinic at the University of Washington analyzed the amount of exercise performed per week by patients diagnosed with migraine.
They found that exercising above the two and a half hour threshold, the minimum recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), reduced migraine triggers such as anxiety and poor quality sleep.
In their sample of more than 4,500 adults with migraines, 73 percent received less than two and a half hours a week, they found.
Migraine is a common health condition, affecting about one in five women and about one in 15 men, according to the NHS.
Regular exercise can be an effective way to reduce the frequency and intensity of a migraine, which causes severe, stabbing pain that
WHAT CAUSES MIGRAINE?
The exact cause of migraines is unknown, according to the NHS.
But they are believed to be the result of abnormal brain activity that temporarily affects nerve signals, chemicals, and blood vessels in the brain.
“It is not clear what causes this change in brain activity, but it is possible that your genes make you more likely to experience migraines as a result of a specific trigger,” says the NHS.
The NHS lists a variety of physical, emotional, environmental, and dietary triggers on its website.
Read more: NHS website
“Migraine is a disabling condition that affects millions of people in the US, and yet regular exercise can be an effective way to reduce frequency and intensity,” said study author Dr. Mason Dyess of the University of Washington in Seattle.
“Exercise releases natural pain relievers called endorphins, helps people sleep better, and reduces stress.
“But if people with migraines don’t exercise, they may not get these benefits.”
When most of us hear the word “migraine,” we tend to think of a really severe headache.
One patient in the UK described a migraine as a ‘throbbing, stabbing pain that is so intense that I would do anything to stop it’.
But headaches are just one symptom of migraines, and they can vary in severity and duration, according to another expert.
“Migraines are a neurological disease that involves nerve pathways and chemicals,” said Brandeis Brockman, a nurse practitioner at Delancey Internal Medicine in the United States, who was not involved in this study.
According to Dr. Dyess, headache is a general term that includes migraines.
Dr. Dyess and his team specifically looked at three causes or “triggers” of migraine headaches that are listed on the NHS website: depression, anxiety, and trouble sleeping.
The study involved 4,647 people, all of whom had been diagnosed with migraine, but with varying levels of severity.
About three-quarters experienced “chronic” migraines, meaning they had 15 or more migraines a month. The rest had “episodic” migraine, up to 14 a month.
The participants completed a questionnaire about their characteristics of migraine, sleep, depression, stress, anxiety, and the amount of “moderate to vigorous” exercise they got each week.
The types of exercise they rated as “moderate to vigorous” included jogging, walking very fast, playing a sport, riding a bicycle, and even “cleaning up.”
The researchers divided the participants into five groups based on moderate to vigorous weekly exercise level: zero minutes, one to 30 minutes, 31 to 90 minutes, 91 minutes to two and a half hours, and more than two and a half hours. half hours.
They found that 1,270 people (27 percent) of all people in the study reported getting the most exercise (more than two and a half hours a week).
In addition to this, people who got less than two and a half hours of moderate to vigorous exercise per week had higher rates of all three triggers: depression, anxiety and trouble sleeping.
Depression was reported by 47 percent of the people in the group who did not exercise, or 377 out of 806 people, compared with 25 percent of the people in the group who exercised more, or 318 out of 1,270 people.
Additionally, 39 percent of the people in the no-exercise group reported anxiety compared to 28 percent of the people in the high-exercise group.
Lastly, 77 percent of people in the no-exercise group reported sleep problems compared to 61 percent in the high-exercise group.
People who got less than two and a half hours of moderate to vigorous exercise per week had higher rates of all three triggers: depression, anxiety, and trouble sleeping (file image)
“Our analysis suggests that exercise level below the WHO recommended level is correlated with a higher rate of depression, anxiety and sleep problems,” the experts report.
The researchers also found an association between exercise and the risk of migraines or any other type of headache.
Of the people in the non-exercise group, 5 percent had a low headache frequency, defined as zero to four headache days per month, and 48 percent had a high headache frequency, defined as having 25 or more headache days a month.
Of the people in the high-exercise group who exercised more than two and a half hours a week, 10 percent had a low headache frequency and 28 percent had a high headache frequency.
While there are some medications for migraines, including some types of sleeping pills, exercise might be the cheapest treatment out there.
“There are new therapies available for migraine headaches, but they are very expensive,” said Dr. Dyess, who will present his findings at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, which takes place virtually April 17-22.
“People with migraines should consider incorporating more exercise into their daily lives because it can be a safe and inexpensive way to manage and minimize some of the other problems that often accompany migraines.”
According to the NHS, physical triggers like poor posture and strenuous exercise if you’re not used to it can also cause migraines.
Dietary triggers include missed, delayed, or irregular meals, dehydration, alcohol, caffeine, and foods that contain the substance tyramine.
Tyramine is found in cured meats, yeast extracts, pickled herring, smoked fish, and certain cheeses such as cheddar, stilton, and camembert.
PERSONALITY TRAITS COULD INFLUENCE IF YOU GET MIGRAINS: 2017 STUDY
Being open to new experiences reduces people’s risk of migraines, research suggested in June 2017.
A preference for variation over routine prevents crippling headaches among those suffering from depression, a study found.
However, neuroticism, a personality trait associated with nervousness and irritability, increases the risk of migraine headaches, the research adds.
Study author Dr Máté Magyar from Semmelweis University in Budapest said: “ An outspoken character appears to offer protection against [migraine].
The results of our study could help to provide a better understanding of the biopsychosocial history of migraine and help to find novel strategies in prevention and interventions for [migraine].
Researchers analyzed the relationship between personality traits, depression, and migraines in more than 3,000 people with the mental health condition.
Depression is associated with an increased risk of migraines.
The participants were classified according to their frankness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.