Engaging in physical exercise can be a trigger for migraine attacks, according to a study published in the Journal of Headache and Pain. Some theories suggest that the migraines are caused by the dilation of blood vessels inside the skull after strenuous exercise while others attribute it to elevated blood pressure.
These migraines can last even for days, making life hard and forcing many to quit exercising. But, since exercise has many benefits for your overall health, avoiding it is not a good idea, and it’s important that you find a way to deal with the migraines. However, this doesn’t mean that you turn to over-the-counter medication.
While painkillers may provide some quick relief when you have a migraine, having to use them every time you exercise can have side effects as well as lead to over-reliance in the long term. Instead, you can try these natural alternatives to see which works for you.
Diet plays a key role in preventing migraines. First of all, try to avoid any foods that can contribute to migraines. For example, foods containing tyramine and phenylalanine such as processed meats, fermented foods, aged cheeses, and alcoholic beverages can increase the frequency of migraines for some people.
The timing of your meals is also important; try to eat at the same time every day and avoid skipping meals, especially before and after exercising. You can also increase the intake of foods that are known to ease migraines. For instance, ginger has been shown to decrease the severity and duration of migraines. Foods rich in magnesium such as eggs, milk, oatmeal, and almonds can also help prevent migraines.
Have a proper exercise routine
One of the reasons why some people get migraines when they exercise is doing it wrong. Studies have shown that, when done right, exercise can actually prevent migraines by stimulating the release of chemicals that block pain signals to your brain. A proper exercise routine should start with a warm-up session to get your heart up and end with a cool-down session to get it back to normal.
Aim to get at least 150 minutes of exercise every week that includes elements to improve cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength, and flexibility. Hydration is also key before, during, and after exercise; failure to replace the fluids you lose through sweating during exercise can lead to dehydration which is known to be a major trigger for migraines.
Use essential oils
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years to treat and even prevent future migraines. Some essential oils, such as lavender and rosemary essential oils, prevent migraines directly while others, such as peppermint and chamomile essential oils, prevent the major triggers of migraines such as depression and anxiety. Essential oils can be used in many ways to prevent exercise migraines. For example, you can add a few drops of essential oils to your post-exercise bath water to provide relaxation and treat your migraine.
Another great way to use essential oils is through inhalation or aromatherapy; you can add a few drops to a tissue and hold it under your nose while taking deep breaths or buy an oil diffuser. You can also dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil such as argan or coconut oil before applying and gently massaging it into your temples and forehead.
Practice relaxation techniques
Migraines and stress often go hand in hand. You may not be able to avoid daily stress, but keeping it under control is vital if you want to manage your migraines. A great way to manage stress is by practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises.
Yoga is particularly effective for reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines as it reduces stress, boosts blood circulation, and supports a healthy nervous system. Deep breathing exercises can also help; focus on inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly for around 10 minutes every day.
By using the above natural remedies, you can keep on exercising without worrying about having to deal with migraines. However, if the natural remedies don’t work, consult your doctor to find out whether any underlying health issues are causing your migraines and how you can treat them permanently.