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Hello and welcome to MigraineCast.
Several times recently, people have asked the question, “Can I exercise if I suffer from Migraines?” The simple answer is, “Yes, most people can.” But it’s not that simple. There are a couple of related issues that people have also asked about. One is Migraines triggered by exercise. The other is how difficult it is to exercise if you have frequent Migraines.
For some people, exercise, physical labor, or sexual activity can be Migraine triggers. We usually describe these Migraines as exertion triggered. Exertion can trigger whatever form of Migraine you have – Migraine without aura, Migraine with aura, Basilar-Type Migraine, Hemiplegic Migraine – whatever form you have. If this happens to you, talk with your doctor about it. Sometimes changing or starting a daily preventive medication will prevent these Migraines. Another option, if you don’t engage in these activities frequently, is for your doctor to prescribe a medication that you take before engaging in the activity to try to prevent it from triggering a Migraine.
Here’s an interesting side note. Although sexual activity is a trigger for some Migraineurs, others find that an orgasm actually aborts a Migraine for them.
When you have frequent Migraines, trying to exercise isn’t just difficult, it’s painful. That leaves us with a conundrum. Exercise contributes to overall better health, and overall better health can make us less susceptible to our Migraine triggers. So, what are we to do?
If you have fewer days with Migraines than without them, devise a workout that you can do at least three days a week. Most of us don’t want to take the time to go to a gym when we already have days taken away from us each week by Migraines, but there are programs we can do at home. On days you don’t do your full program, at least work in a few stretches. Stretches are even better done in the shower where the hot water loosens tense muscles.
If you have more days with Migraines than without, this is obviously more difficult. Some of us can manage at least some stretches, even with a Migraine. Others cannot. Figure out what you can do. Can you sit on a chair and do leg lifts. Can you sit or stand and tone your arms and shoulders by working out with bottled water or cans of soup or veggies for weights? If the weather is decent, can you stand to go out for a walk?
For everyone - don’t forget to talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Your doctor may even refer you to a physical therapist or exercise physiologist to help you develop the best program for you.
If your doctor suggests exercise might help your Migraines, don’t be surprised, and don’t get angry. Instead, realize that he or she really is trying to help. If you need help, putting together an exercise routine you can handle, ask for that help. There’s no shame in that. We all need exercise. Let’s not let Migraine disease rob us of something so essential to our health. Remember – We have Migraines, but Migraines don’t have us!
Living with severe headaches and Migraine disease for over 40 years has brought me to the realization that learning about Migraine disease and headaches can allow us to work with our doctors as treatment partners to gain control over headaches and Migraines rather than them controlling us.
Please join us at MyMigraineConnection.com for information and support or for a transcript of this podcast. From MyMigraineConnection.com and the HealthCentral Network, this is Teri Robert reminding you that you can live well with Migraine disease and headaches.