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Migraine Awareness Week

This week it's Migraine Awareness Week. Migraine is the third most common disease on the planet affecting millions of people. In fact, one in seven people in the world suffers from migraine.

Migraine Awareness Week was set up to raise awareness of the condition – a recurrent throbbing headache that usually affects one side of the head and is often accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision.

Regular exercise can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines as well as the less debilitating but still painful humble headache. Exercise helps both of these conditions because the body releases its natural painkiller called endorphins.

Exercise also reduces stress and helps people to sleep more soundly at night. Stress and lack of sleep are two of the major triggers of migraines and headaches.

Some people though may actually get headaches or migraines when they exercise. One reason may be the raising of blood pressure. But this is not an excuse to avoid exercise – which is, of course, greatly beneficial for overall health.

Instead, when exercising, follow a plan like this to prevent headaches and migraines developing:

  • Make sure you eat sufficient food around 90 minutes before you exercise. Exercise causes our blood-sugar level to decrease, and it is essential to have an energy source.
  • Warm-up. Even if you've never had so much as a headache, it's best never to jump into sudden exercise as you're more likely to pull something and cause yourself an injury. From an above-the-neck point of view, you're also more likely to cause pain in your head.
  • Stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise. It sounds obvious, but it's all too frequently ignored: if you are thirsty, have a drink! Also, keep in mind that if you don't sweat it can be a sign of dehydration, and a drink is needed.
  • Warm-down. It's good to do anyway, to ease the body back to its more normal state. This will reduce the chance of headaches or migraines.

Help raise awareness of migraines this week by joining the conversation on social media using hashtags #letsbeatmigraine and #migraineawarenessweek.