People who are less active may have a higher risk of developing frequent headaches, results from a large study suggest. The findings were based on a survey of more than 68000 adults living in Norway, and found that of those who never exercised, 14% were more likely to develop non-migraine headaches over an 11 year period.
Furthermore, people who were already suffering from any form of frequent headache were at greater risk of being physically inactive. These findings suggest that a lack of exercise may be a risk factor for developing non-migraine headaches - and that exercise is a challenge for people already suffering from any form of head pain.
Lead researcher Emma Varkey of Cephalea headache Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden said it's not clear why a sedentary lifestyle might contribute to headaches, but the findings suggest that protection from headaches could potentially be another reason for people to stay active. Varkey and her colleagues report in the medical journal Cephalalgia.
"The study indicates that people with headache might need help (or) advice to increase their level of activity," she noted. There are, however, still questions about the types of exercise that are best for people with frequent headaches, according to Varkey.
Exercise usually does not worsen common, tension-type headaches, she noted, but for some migraine sufferers, vigorous activity can trigger episodes of head pain. Varkey added her researcher group will soon publish a study looking at an exercise regimen designed to boost migraine patients' fitness without worsening their condition.
(Adapted from article on Reuters Health)