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Provocation of Migraine after Maximal Exercise: A Test-Retest Study.

Journal article
Authors Emma Varkey
Bente Grüner Sveälv
Fredrik Edin
Annica Ravn-Fischer
Åsa Cider
Published in European neurology
Volume 78
Issue 1-2
Pages 22-27
ISSN 1421-9913
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 22-27
Language en
Subject categories Cardiovascular medicine


Exercise is often recommended in migraine treatment, but strenuous physical activity is also reported as a migraine trigger. The main aim of this study was to evaluate whether migraine can be triggered by a maximal exercise test, using a prospective test-retest method. A secondary aim was to compare the participants who responded to the maximal exercise test with a migraine attack with those who did not suffer a migraine attack after the test.A total of 19 patients reporting exercise as a potential trigger for their migraines were included in the study. After a baseline period of 1 month with measurements of migraine frequency, a cycle ergometer test until exhaustion was used twice on each patient.A total of 14 patients were test-retested, and of these, 3 reported migraine following both tests, 5 after one of the tests, and 6 did not report migraine after either test. We observed a higher risk of migraine after 1 or 2 tests in patients with a higher baseline migraine frequency (p = 0.036).In conclusion, the study showed that although maximal aerobic exercise can trigger migraine attacks, it does not always provoke an attack even in those who report exercise as a migraine trigger.

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