How Exercises Help Migraineurs At Multiple Levels

Any exercise induces the body’s pituitary gland to release endorphins. There are 4 different types of endorphins – alpha, beta, gamma and sigma. It is found that during prolonged exercise sessions, acidosis of the blood occurs, which is indicated by decrease in the blood flow and oxygen to the muscle tissues. This triggers the release of beta-endorphins, as a response to tackle the anticipated pain or stress. These beta-endorphins have analgesic properties and raise the bar for the body in tackling migraine pains.


Similarly, another polypeptide, the enkephalin, is released by the thalamus of the brain during periods of exercise. They have the specific capacity to block the neurotransmitter, Substance P, which is notorious in triggering migraines. Catecholamines are another substance, which is released in short periods of exerting exercises. They raise the density and secretion of serotonin mildly and help counter migraine pains to some extent.

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What To Do When Non-Visual Aura Hits

Migraineurs may experience the common visual aura or the not-so-common non-visual aura. Non-visual aura could take the form of some loss of motor ability, feeling of pins and needles on face or palms, difficulty holding plates, opening doors that involve a strong pull action etc. Here’s what you can do to manage your non-visual aura better:

 Action # 1: Minimize functions that put you and your loved ones at risk. Attend to only such of the chores as are absolutely essential. Get the spouse, mate, partner and children to pitch in at such times. Any activity that is absolutely essential, must be done slowly and while concentrating. No brisk, jerky or quick movements that will bring on dizziness or will compromise your health should be made.

Action # 2: Take care while walking especially when you are turning to the left or right to enter rooms or lanes. You may want to watch out such that you are not catching the door edges etc.

Action # 3: Aromatherapy with the aroma of specific essential oils that suit and calm you often reduces the non-visual aura temporarily. 

Action # 4: Lie down and inhale slowly and deeply. Exhale slowly and completely. Repeat the process for 5 – 10 minutes. This is known to reduce most of the symptoms even in a full-blown migraine for half an hour at a time without medication.

Action # 5: Light massage of temples, forehead, neck and eyebrows with Vicks helps immensely in reducing non-visual aura. It also mitigates pain for a while.

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The Full Circle Fitness Perspective


Full Circle Fitness is a blog that invites people to write about their experiences with physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fitness practices. Going beyond the physical aspect of fitness of our gym-centric worlds, Full Circle Fitness attempts to understand what it takes to be emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy. A Full Circle envelops all those who come to it.  Please visit Full Circle Fitness and discuss your methods. 


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Excellent Exercises For Migraineurs


For over a month now, I have been covering technical areas of migraine condition to increase our understanding of the internal dynamics of this neurological disease.   Today’s post will encompass what we can do in terms of physical activities and exercises to keep the migraine beast best tamed- i.e. we will look at the external dynamics which is within our control. Remember, our aim should be to:

a. Increase levels of Serotonin

b. Increase levels of the pain-fighting Endorphin

c. Increase levels of Dopamine

 All repetitive movements raise serotonin levels. This includes chewing, massages and the like, though the elevation in serotonin levels through such activities is marginal and ephemeral.

Significant increase in serotonin combined with endorphin and dopamine levels occur at the time of any activity that involves continuous or continual exertion for a certain period of time – a minimum of 20 minutes. If you can incorporate repetitive movements to such an exercise sessions, it would augment the effect of serotonin and endorphin. Let’s look at the activities that can give such benefits:

1. Brisk Walking

2. Jogging

3. Running

4. Weight training

5. Cycling – outdoors and stationary

6. Swimming

7. Dancing

8. Stretching

9. Yoga

10. Pilates

11. Aerobics – Step, Circuit training etc

12. Kickboxing

13. Any Sport

14. Gym activities – treadmills, elliptical, rowing machines, push-ups etc

15. Any other activity that causes you to exert for 20 minutes at one go (with possible rest periods built in)

If you have never done exertive physical activities before or have led a sedate life, it is advisable to keep your exercise routine to 30 minutes every other day. If you do not have the luxury of working out 30-minutes in a single go, break it up. You can fit in lots of 10 minutes thrice in a day. It all adds up.

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