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Exercise as migraine prophylaxis: a randomized study using relaxation and topiramate as controls.

Journal article
Authors Emma Varkey
Åsa Cider
Jane Carlsson
Mattias Linde
Published in Cephalalgia
Volume 31
Issue 14
Pages 1428-38
ISSN 0333-1024
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 1428-38
Language en
Keywords Headache, oxygen uptake, physical activity, prevention, quality of life
Subject categories Nursing


AIM: Scientific evidence regarding exercise in migraine prophylaxis is required. Therefore this study aimed to evaluate the effects of exercise in migraine prevention. METHODS: In a randomized, controlled trial of adults with migraine, exercising for 40 minutes three times a week was compared to relaxation according to a recorded programme or daily topiramate use, which was slowly increased to the individual's highest tolerable dose (maximum 200 mg/day). The treatment period lasted for 3 months, and migraine status, quality of life, level of physical activity, and oxygen uptake were evaluated. The primary efficacy variable was the mean reduction of the frequency of migraine attacks during the final month of treatment compared with the baseline. RESULTS: Ninety-one patients were randomized and included in the intention-to-treat analysis. The primary efficacy variable showed a mean reduction of 0.93 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.31-1.54) attacks in the exercise group, 0.83 (95% CI 0.22-1.45) attacks in the relaxation group, and 0.97 (95% CI 0.36-1.58) attacks in the topiramate group. No significant difference was observed between the groups (p = 0.95). CONCLUSION: Exercise may be an option for the prophylactic treatment of migraine in patients who do not benefit from or do not want to take daily medication.

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