Does Exercise Make Migraines Worse and Tension Type Headaches Better?

  • Nada Ahmad Hindiyeh
  • John Claude Krusz
  • Robert Paul Cowan
Migraine (R Cowan, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s11916-013-0380-5

Cite this article as:
Hindiyeh, N.A., Krusz, J.C. & Cowan, R.P. Curr Pain Headache Rep (2013) 17: 380. doi:10.1007/s11916-013-0380-5
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Migraine


Many non-pharmacological treatments have been implicated in the treatment of primary headache, with exercise being a common recommendation. In this review we first provide an overview of the relationship between exercise and primary headaches. We then review the physiology of pain modulation, with focus on the endogenous opioids, endocannabinoids, and neuropeptides calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and their associations with primary headache and exercise. Finally, we summarize current literature evaluating effects of exercise on primary headache in an effort to understand the benefits and disadvantages of exercise in primary headaches.


Nonpharmacological treatment Exercise Migraine Tension type headache Primary headache 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nada Ahmad Hindiyeh
    • 1
  • John Claude Krusz
    • 2
  • Robert Paul Cowan
    • 3
  1. 1.Stanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  2. 2.ANODYNE Headache and Pain CareDallasUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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