I've said it before, and the latest research proves it again: You don't need powerful, dangerous and addictive meds to beat the relentless pain of migraine headaches.
All you need is a new approach: either more activity in the form of exercise, or less activity in the form of relaxation.
Either way, you come out ahead -- because the latest research shows both of those approaches are every bit as effective for migraine relief as topiramate, the anti-seizure drug often given to patients who battle these debilitating headaches.
Swedish researchers randomly assigned 91 women suffering from migraines to either 40 minutes of exercise on a stationary bike three times a week, relaxation therapy or topiramate -- and after three months, the benefits were even across the board.
Some women in each group even saw improvements of up to 75 percent, according to the details in the journal Cephalalgia.
But while both exercise and relaxation therapy come with other benefits -- they can fight stress, lift the mood and boost overall health -- the drug comes with an endless series of risks.
Eight of the women who took the med -- a third of the group overall -- experienced side effects, versus none in the other groups. And for three of the women, the side effects were so bad they had to quit the study.
There's no word on what specific side effects the women experienced, but topiramate has been linked to kidney stones, urinary problems, loss of vision, vertigo, back pain, depression and more.
Now, if you're like me, the idea of any time at all on a stationary bike -- much less 40 minutes every other day -- sounds a lot like torture.
The good news is, studies have consistently shown that you don't have to get gym-style exercise to get the benefits of exercise... and I'd be surprised if that didn't apply to the migraine-beating benefits as well.
Just find something you enjoy doing that gets your body moving and your blood pumping -- everything from sports to gardening counts.
And if that doesn't work for you and you've had no luck with relaxation therapy, you still don't need to spin the wheel of side effects with a migraine med.
As I've told you before, there are plenty of safe and natural options for beating the pain -- and you can get all the details, for free, in my online archives:
- Rose-tinted lenses can help slash pain levels by up to 70 percent.
- A form of magnetic stimulation called sTMS has been shown to bring real relief to nearly 40 percent of migraine sufferers.
- Magnesium, B vitamins and feverfew have all shown they can help ease the pain.