Here, we’ll look at what the review found and whether aerobic exercise could be a good treatment strategy for migraine patients.
Understanding the review
Meta-analysis and a systematic review were carried out to investigate the effect aerobic exercise had on the intensity, duration and frequency of migraines. Six studies were collected after three major online databases were screened. This resulted in the results of a total of 176 patients. When feasible, the results were pooled.
Out of the six studies, three of them showed that aerobic exercise reduced the number of days patients experienced migraines. Data pooling was carried out on the 176 participants, showing that aerobic exercise had a significant impact on reducing the number of migraine days after 10-12 weeks. Those who were part of the aerobic exercise group saw a mean reduction of 0.6 days. It’s not a huge change, but it does show aerobic exercise does have some positive impact on the frequency of migraines.
Most excitingly, three of the studies showed that the pain intensity of migraines significantly improved. Participants experienced a pain reduction anywhere from 20% to 54%. The duration of the migraines was also reduced by 20% to 27%.
Does the intensity of exercise matter?
Just one study showed high-intensity interval training did provide good treatment effects. However, overall the studies largely included low-intensity exercises. This means it wasn’t possible to determine whether higher intensity programs could help to further reduce the pain, duration and frequency of migraine attacks.
The aerobic exercises included in studies varied from jogging and walking to cycling. Participants also completed these exercises in varying intensities and durations.
Aerobic exercise could prove great alternative to migraine medication
One interesting finding of the review was that aerobic exercise can be just as effective at reducing the number of migraine days as medications. This means it could be potentially used as an alternative for those who are opposed to, or who can’t take medication.
Another advantage of using exercise over migraine medication is that there are zero side effects for patients to worry about.
What other options are available?
Although aerobic exercise is clearly shown to aid those suffering from migraines, more research does need to be carried out to determine whether it is just as effective as medication. This is specifically true regarding higher intensity workouts. There are, however, various existing treatments available, such as medications and Botox. Medications can work, but they are known for causing numerous side effects.
Botox has been used to treat migraines for decades and it remains one of the most effective treatments available. If patients were to combine Botox with aerobic exercise, they could see a dramatic reduction in frequency, severity and duration of their migraine attacks.
If you are interested in offering your patients Botox for migraine relief, then call 0790 0583 898 to find out more about our Botox for migraine training courses. Youth Doctors offers the only Botox for migraine course in the UK and Europe.