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What Is the Link Between Physical Exertion and Migraines?

What Is the Link Between Physical Exertion and Migraines?

If you get a migraine, headache, or nausea after you work out or do something strenuous, you might have wondered if you’re imagining it. It turns out that there may be a link between physical exertion and migraines.

Migraine pain is considerably more severe than a tension headache. A proper diagnosis from a specialist can help you identify migraine triggers and develop a treatment plan to relieve your pain. In this blog, the physicians at Glaser Pain Relief Center in Encino, California, explain more about the link between migraines and physical exertion.

What are the symptoms of a migraine?

A migraine is a specific type of neurological condition, more intense than a headache. If you’ve ever had one, you know they can be extremely debilitating. Some of the most common symptoms of migraines include:

You may feel neck pain as well, with or without other migraine symptoms. Neck pain is often the first symptom.  In fact, migraines can generate from problems in the neck (cervical spine).

In addition, you may experience what’s called an aura before or during your migraine. About one-third of migraine sufferers are affected by an aura, which can include visual symptoms such as wavy lines or zig zags, sparkles, flashing lights, or strobes. You may also experience short-term vision loss, blind spots, or tunnel vision. You can even notice these symptoms without a headache, and they can even be worse if you walk or try to climb stairs.

How exercise impacts migraines

If you get migraines, you may find that physical exertion seems to trigger them. One study showed that 38% of participants experienced migraines in association with physical exercise. The study found that half of those had to stop participating in a sport or exercising altogether in order to avoid their migraines.

Although the reason is unclear, some people have migraines that are triggered by movement. Simple actions such as twisting your head from side to side, bending over, or rotating your body can aggravate migraine symptoms.

Other migraine triggers

In addition to exercise, other things can trigger your migraines. Examples include:

Disturbances to your body rhythm or body clock — including periods of insomnia or jet lag — also can bring on a migraine.

Treatment is available for migraines

Migraines can make it difficult for you to function. Fortunately, there are a number of options available to treat your migraines and improve your quality of life. In most cases the doctors at the Glaser Pain Relief Center are able to significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches.  Sometimes people can even achieve total pain freedom from migraines. Some of the treatments we offer include:


Ubrelvy is a prescription medication that works quickly to relieve the pain of your migraines. It acts to block the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) protein that contributes to migraine pain.


Yes, we use Botox injections to treat your migraines. This medication is a form of Onabotulinum-A toxin, which we inject into your neck. It’s FDA-approved for the purpose of treating migraines that occur more than eight times a month.

Nurtec ODT®

Nurtec is another prescription medication. It’s an oral tablet that dissolves quickly and provides relief from migraines for up to 48 hours. 

If you have migraines, whether triggered by exercise or something else, schedule an appointment to see the physicians at Glaser Pain Relief Center for a consultation. Contact us today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.

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