(NaturalNews) Women who suffer from migraines may be able to reduce the intensity of their pain and their risk of depression by regularly taking part in a simple exercise and relaxation routine, according to a study conducted by researchers from Innsbrook Medical University and published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.
Thirty women migraine sufferers were randomly assigned either to stay with their normal migraine treatment or to supplement that treatment with specific routine involving 45 minutes of aerobic exercise and 15 minutes of progressive muscle relaxation two times per week. After six weeks, the women who took part in the exercise and relaxation routine reported significantly less intensity of migraine pain than the women in the regular treatment only group.
Women in the exercise and relaxation group also reported significantly fewer symptoms of depression after six weeks than women in the control group. Overall, however, the level of psychological well-being was found to be the same in both groups.
Previous research has suggested that while exercise appears to have no ability to prevent migraine attacks, it does appear to reduce the intensity of pain experienced -- a conclusion supported by the current study.
The researchers were unable to determine the reason for the exercise and relaxation therapy's effect on migraine pain, but they speculated that the treatment might improve feelings of self-efficacy and thus improve people's ability to cope with pain.
Up to 28 percent of people will suffer from a migraine attack at some point in the course of their lives. In any given year, 6 to 15 percent of adult men and 14 to 35 percent of adult women will suffer from at least one migraine attack.
People who suffer from migraines - especially young adults, women who use hormonal contraception, and women who suffer from migraine with aura - have two to three times the risk of undergoing a stroke as those who do not experience migraines.