Migraine sufferers who participated in an aerobic exercise and relaxation program experienced less intense migraine pain, according to authors of a small study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine (2008; 18 ; 363–65).
Austrian researchers from Innsbruck Medical University conducted a randomized, controlled study of 30 female migraine patients under standard medical care for 6 weeks. Fifteen participants did twice-weekly indoor exercise consisting of 45 minutes of aerobics and 15 minutes of progressive muscle relaxation, in addition to usual care. Control group members received only standard medical care.
The exercise group members reported a significant reduction in migraine pain intensity. Study authors noted that further larger studies were necessary and that researchers needed to determine whether it was exercise, relaxation or the combination that provided the relief.