In our clinics, we frequently work with patients who have vestibular migraines. These migraines can cause dizziness, nausea and imbalance, in addition to other common migraine symptoms, such as headaches and sensitivity to noise, light, odors and movement.
While medication can be helpful, lifestyle factors also can play a big role. When we work with a patient with migraines, we help them identify triggers and strategize about lifestyle changes that can reduce the likelihood of getting a migraine. One thing we commonly recommend is starting a consistent aerobic exercise program.
Current research shows the right type of exercise can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. In fact, one study found exercise to be equally as effective as the use of a common migraine medication. Why is that? It appears exercise may decrease the inflammatory process involved in migraine activity. Conversely, lower levels of physical activity are associated with an increased frequency of headaches.
There are things for migraine sufferers to keep in mind when starting an exercise program. One is choosing a type of movement that can increase the heart rate but not overly tax their body, as overexertion can be a trigger for some people. Migraine sufferers often do well with brisk walking, swimming, dancing and bicycling. They should avoiding exercising in hot, humid weather and should stay hydrated. Also, it’s important to gradually increase the intensity, starting with short periods of exercise, like 15-20 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week, and increasing to 30-60 minutes as tolerated.
In our clinics, we guide our patients through this process, helping them find the right activity level for their needs.
If you think you might be suffering from vestibular migraines, call 952-345-3000 for a comprehensive evaluation. Our specialists can help identify whether migraine activity may be contributing to your symptoms, and if so, our specially trained physical therapists can help you form a strategy to reduce the migraines, improve the dizziness and imbalance, and feel better.