Anxiety, Migraine and Physical Exercise

A recently published article in the Journal Cephalalgia of the International Headache Society showed a possible explanation why women with migraine headaches do less exercise.

Anxiety sensitivity and intentional avoidance of physical activity in women with probable migraine

Samantha G FarrisJ Graham ThomasAna M AbrantesRichard B LiptonEmily K BurrFrederick A GodleyJulie L RothJelena M PavlovicDale S Bond

Physical activity can be both an aggravation and a solution for migraine sufferers. It is part of diagnostic criteria a worsening of headache by routine physical activity. Regular physical exercise can be an excellent prevention against migraines.

Migraine patients, however, don’t feel as good as others when exercise. Feeling scales measuring satisfaction during physical activity are significantly lower in those with recurrent migraine headaches.

The leading author, Dr Samantha Farris, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, at Rutgers School of Sciences and Director of The Rutgers Emotion, Health and Behavior (REHAB) Laboratory studied migraine women measuring anxiety sensitivity and linked it to avoidance of moderate to vigorous exercise.

Clinicians treating migraine patients should be aware of this fear of having a headache after exercising, and encourage patients in engaging in physical activities, looking at better headache control.

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