Exercise: A drug-free alternative for migraine relief

In 2008, more than 3 million Americans visited the emergency room because of headaches. A third of those people were found to have migraines and two thirds remained in the hospital overnight because of their head pain.

If you or a loved one has migraines, you can take steps to avoid a trip to the emergency room. There are a number of natural, effective treatments available to preventing and alleviating migraines.

Recent research has found that exercise may treat migraines just as effectively as topiramate, a commonly prescribed migraine drug. The study involved three groups of women who suffer from migraines. The first group took the migraine medication topiramate. The second group received relaxation therapy. The third group exercised for 40 minutes, three times per week.

The researchers found that the women who exercised were just as likely to experience migraine relief as those who received the other forms of treatment. Plus, the women who exercised or received relaxation therapy did not suffer the same adverse side effects as those who took the topiramate drug.

Chiropractic adjustments are another natural treatments that has proven effective for migraine headaches. Previous studies of chiropractic treatments have shown them to reduce the duration, frequency, and severity of migraines, and lower the amount of medication patients take to control their migraines. Herbal supplements can also assist in reducing migraine frequency.


Brooks, Megan. "Exercise may offer drug-free migraine prevention." Reuters. October 7, 2011. Accessed October 10, 2011. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/07/us-exercise-headaches-idUSTRE7966C920111007.

Varkey E, et al. Exercise as migraine prophylaxis: A randomized study using relaxation and topiramate as controls. Cephalalgia 2011; 31 (14):1428-1438.