Exercise just as good as drugs at preventing migraines

What do you think?


“The results show that the number of migraines fell in all three groups. Interestingly, there was no difference in the preventative effect between the three treatments. Our conclusion is that exercise can act as an alternative to relaxation and topiramate when it comes to preventing migraines, and is particularly appropriate for patients who are unwilling or unable to take preventative medicines.”


This is a very good find. A Professor Jane Carlsson has been involved with this work for a while. I remember the first paper their team posted 2 years ago about aerobic exercise which I’m posting here as well if someone wants to pursue this as a treatment.

You’ll notice that in this recent paper they compared aerobic exercise with relaxation and Topamax. It’s a well-written and well-designed study; however, there are limitations that they describe in the discussion.

Last point – the numbers were low really in each group when the study completed (after drop out) and there was only one person with chronic migraine.

Still, it’s good to have some evidence in this area. From my point of view the best approach is to exercise and practice relaxation daily on top of a medicine if one is necessary.

I’ve edited your post and added in the studies for everyone to read – and put into action if possible. It’s made me think again about heading to the gym and getting onto one of those stationary bikes and doing 40 minutes 3x a week on top of the power walks I’ve been trying to squeeze in.

Cheers … Scott 8)

I exercise at the gym once a week and I also go swimming once a week, I do 5 mins on each cardio machine first time round and I can feel quite dizzy throughout but on my 2nd go round I don’t feel much dizziness at all, it doesn’t ease my dizziness all day though, but I use to walk to 1/2 hour to work n 1/2 back everyday but have had to stop as when I’m walking feel like I’m going to the right all the time
I think for me exercise helps but doesn’t relief my symptoms for long enough

You guys,

This is some pretty good info. I’ve always believed that the true way to beat this is through an honest long treatment of the right diet to go along with a proper exercise plan. Now whether I’ve given that an honest go is another story. But reading stuff like this makes me want to try again. But now I think along the lines of a preventative med and exercise together is probably the better way to go.

Scott, as far as the study only showing 1 person with chronic migraine getting past this with exercise, I believe you know of another person that actually had chronic MAV who has their success story here. Someone named stargrave. I believe stargrave knocked out MAV with exercise and I believe he/her didn’t take any meds. But stargrave had mentioned that it took months for it to finally go. Didn’t say how many months, but it sounded like it could have been like 8 or 10 months. Stargrave’s exercise program I believe had to do with the elliptical every day.

So I believe that exercise does play a huge role. The problem I have with the exercise treatment alone, is that you just don’t see a whole lot of results as far as the dizziness goes after even 2 months. And that in itself is discouraging and ultimately leading you to quit exercising.

But I will say this, when I get into these exercise kicks, I really do feel better, mindwise and bodywise, but the dizziness-ehh. But when the setbacks start coming in, that’s when I seemed to give it up. Shame on me for not fighting through those setbacks. When I think about it now, I began a good exercise program back in I think Jan. only to quit about 2 1/2 months into it. Now imagine if I haven’t given up and kept going. It’s nearly november now and who knows, I may have my balance back to normal or close to it by now. It’s such a shame that I just quit. But I’m not down about it-just disappointed that I gave up.

Great articles guys, keep them coming! :smiley:


Not sure this is going to work on the dizzy part of migraine -

Our most famous dizzy migraineur, Janet Jackson, had to cancel some tour dates because of dizziness. I suspect she was in the habit of some serious daily exercise in order to do what SHE was doing!

Not to suggest that anyone give up before giving this approach a try (we should all be exercising regularly, even if it doesn’t work to prevent migraine), but she was quite the dancer when it came out that she had MAV, and dancers have to work out just about daily in order to do the kind of moves she was doing at that time.


Keep in mind that Janet Jackson may as well been in good shape when MAV struck her, but when these performers are getting ready for a tour or in the middle of a tour with millions of eyes watching, where you’re relying on numbers from album sales or concert sellouts based on your performance, I imagine there is a lot of stress going on here too. She’s gotta be flawless in her line of work. Especially if she’s been out of the spotlight for a while. I don’t know if she was or not, my guess is she was trying to resurrect her career as many once popular artists’ do, but I’d have to say the anxiety and stress overload involved and possibly overdoing things physically, was probably too much for her trigger load and whatever exercise or med someone’s taking may not matter in situations like that. She may have not even gotten MAV if she were retired but was still keeping up on her aerobic dancing exercise just to stay in shape. Just a thought. :smiley:


thank you. this is motivational.

i do find it very difficult to start exercising again, after having become burned-out from trying to keep upright with (for a very long time undiagnosed) MAV. of course there’s the ‘personal flaw’ bit where i have problems with taking tiny tiny steps. but i also just dont have the energy and am in this loopy place where MAV & burnout keep eachother going :confused:

i really would be helped by you people telling me their experience with exercises…

Well I think the the point here is that the research is talking about migraine, not MAV, and thus, there is a difference. If we are talking about migraine alone, then I suspect it has more validity. Since MAV as a whole has so many more symptoms/issues, with dizziness being the top problem, I’d say that exercise alone is not going to be a solution. That is not to say that it won’t help, but it also as we know, can actually bother some people, so that needs to be taken into consideration. As someone who has now been on Topamax for a few years, I can’t imagine going off of it, no matter what exercise regimine or diet someone put me on. It has been THAT beneficial for me, despite the mostly minor (or at least tolerable considering how I was prior) side effects.

Best, Bonnie