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Exercise, Relaxation, and Pharmaceuticals Equally Effective for Migraines

Migraines are excruciating headaches with no known cause and no known definitive cure. Now a new study suggests that exercise may be as effective as pharmaceuticals and other recommended treatments.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and their findings were published in the journal Cephalalgia on September 2, 2011.

Study participants included 91 individuals who suffered from migraines. At the onset of the study, the researchers assessed the participant's migraine status, quality of life, aerobic capacity, and level of physical activity.

The participants were then split into three groups, with one group exercising for 40 minutes three times a week, one group conducting relaxation exercises for the same amount of time weekly, and one group taking the pharmaceutical medication topiramate. Topiramate and relaxation both have previously been shown to alleviate migraine pain.

The researchers assessed the lifestyle factors mentioned at the beginning of the study and again at 3 and 6 months after the conclusion of the study. They found that all of the interventions reduced the number of migraines with no noticeable difference in preventative effect between the three.

Several common migraine triggers have been identified by doctors. They include certain foods such as chocolate, red wine and aspartame, stress, changes in weather and hormonal changes in women. If you are a migraine sufferer, avoid these triggers as much as possible and consider adding exercise and relaxation techniques to your weekly routine.

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