got a headache? try some exercise

Yesterday I was dealing with a killer headache as soon as I got home from my clients. I couldn’t really figure out the trigger–too much caffeine in my iced coffee? Not enough water? Did I need to eat? Was I just tired? I needed a fix and I needed it fast.

I caved in and took Tylenol, but that actually didn’t do anything. I snoozed for a half hour–didn’t help. Ate lunch and my head was still pounding. Took in a steady stream of water. Nothing! This one knocked me out.

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photo: Midtown Chiropractic & Acupuncture

With my head still aching and the hours in the day quickly ticking by, I gathered up my things and made my way to the gym. I know, most of you are probably thinking I should have skipped it, but I’m crazy. When I have a free day where I can put my gym membership to use, I do it.

I chose some light cardio on the elliptical, one of my favorite Sunday workouts (and gentle enough to baby my headache). I had a new Women’s Health to read through, so I was ready to go for the next 45 minutes. But as I started working out, something mysterious happened–my headache started going away!

I was pain-free the rest of the evening…a Christmas miracle! I even snuck in a glass of wine, something that we all know can trigger a headache. This inspired me to research: does exercise help relieve headaches?

It actually can! CBS News mentions that exercise can reduce a headache due to the release of endorphins, a hormone that acts as a natural painkiller. Blood flow is also increased to the brain which can ease muscle tension and fatigue.

Sadly I couldn’t find any substantial studies related to headaches and exercise. As you might have noticed I’m a person that needs the facts and the truth, so I can’t really make too many conclusions without real research. BUT, based off my own personal experience, some light exercise might help if you’ve got a headache.

Migraines, on the other hand, are a whole different beast… As are headaches induced by last-minute Christmas shopping at the mall.

Hope everyone had a festive weekend!

photo credit: Midtown Chiropractic & Acupuncture