Working Out with Migraines

By Sara Butler

If you suffer from migraine headaches you may be worried that exercise is one of your triggers. Migraine sufferers will do just about anything to avoid triggering a migraine, and if exercise is something that strikes fear in your migraine-suffering heart, that is indeed unfortunate. The good news is that even for people who believe exercise has triggered their migraines, there is hope. If you’ve had a migraine triggered by exercise a few simple changes could have you exercising pain-free.

If You Suffer a Migraine

When working out, if you suddenly have a migraine come on you should not push through. Stop exercising and do what you normally do to treat a migraine. Pushing through will only make the experience worse for you.

Exercise Pain-Free

There are a few things you might be able to try to prevent triggering a migraine when you exercise. Taking the time to warm up and slowly get your body ready for the increased demands of exercise and oxygen is going to be essential. If you don’t warm up the right way, that may be what is triggering the migraine, not the simple fact you are exercising. Warm up for five to 10 minutes before you begin your workout, but make sure you ease into exercise over the course of 10 to 15 minutes after you warm up.

Also, make sure you drink plenty of water before and during exercise. Let thirst be your guide, but don’t become dehydrated or you may experience a migraine.

The Food Element

Think about what you may have eaten the day you experience a migraine too. If you don’t eat enough before a workout then it may cause a drop in your blood sugar levels which can then cause headaches in even someone who doesn’t suffer from migraines. Your brain lives on carbs, so remember to fuel your body appropriately with complex carbohydrates and wait an hour or so before exercising after you eat to make sure your body has had enough time to digest the food and keep your blood sugar levels regular.

Exercise is good for you, and you shouldn’t have to give it up because you think it’s triggering migraines. Try these suggestions and see if it makes a difference in your workout and relieves headache symptoms, that way you can reap the benefits of exercise and remain headache free. If these suggestions don’t work, try to find any form of exercise that might work for you, but avoid jarring, high-impact exercises. 

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