Can I play heavy sports with migraine?
In some cases, yes. However, there is a lack of research about the correlation of heavy sports and migraine. Some experts believe that heavy exercises or sports help with migraine, whereas others believe otherwise. It is better to consult with your doctor as the cause and effect may vary from person to person.
If you take part in active sports and you have migraine, then you should be careful. If a person suffers from migraine, whether to take part in sports or not is a question that gives conflicting opinions. Few believe that it will make your symptoms worse, and for some it will be beneficial.
Why should people with migraine participate in sports?
The role of exercise in migraine is still unclear. Few studies indicate a protective role of sports in migraine. However, further studies are needed to find the association between sports and migraine.
There is an association between exercising regularly and reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines. Also, exercise stimulates the release of hormones such as endorphins and enkephalins. These hormones work as the body’s natural painkillers and natural antidepressants.
Also, exercising can help people prevent attacks by relieving stress, which is a common migraine trigger.
Research supports the role of aerobic exercise in migraine prevention and treatment as exertion reduces pain intensity, frequency, duration of attacks, and medication use. Also, lower cardiovascular fitness levels increase the lifetime risk of developing migraine.
Why do people with migraine are advised to refrain from sports?
Sport and exercise-induced migraines are difficult to distinguish from benign exertional headaches and other headache syndromes. The migraine trigger can solely be exertion which can be due to active sports, or there might be multiple triggers for a person’s headache.
Even though participating in active sports has several positive effects, exercise could be harmful due to predisposing factors such as the dysfunction of the exercise-induced analgesia, together with other exercise-related factors (short warm-up, incorrect rest phases, excessive training) and other common migraine triggers.
In conclusion, one should not exercise if a person is in the middle of a migraine attack, as there is a possibility that it can worsen the pain. Vigorous exercise might be a trigger in a few people with migraine, but overall, the benefits of physical activity outweigh the risk for people with migraine.
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