Listed in Issue 221


GIL-MARTINEZ and COLLEAGUES, Centro Superior de Estudios Universitarios La Salle. Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Madrid, Espana analyzed the effectiveness of therapeutic exercise on migraines and tension-type headaches (TTH).


Electronic databases were used to search the literature for relevant articles. Eligibility criteria were: controlled randomised clinical trials (RCT), conducted on patients with migraine or TTH, in which the therapeutic intervention was based on therapeutic exercise, and the papers had been published in English and Spanish. Two independent reviewers performed the analysis of the methodological quality using the Delphi scale.



Ten RCT were selected, seven of which offered good methodological quality. According to all the studies analysed, the intensity and frequency of pain diminished in comparison to the situation prior to establishing therapeutic exercise, and in five studies the effect was higher than in the control group. The qualitative analysis showed strong evidence of the absence of adverse events following the application of therapeutic exercise. Furthermore, strong evidence was also found of the effect of physiotherapeutic treatment, including therapeutic exercise, in lowering the intensity, frequency and duration of pain in patients with TTH. Limited evidence was also found of the effectiveness of aerobic exercise in patients with migraine, although it was not better than the effects derived from other forms of treatment.


Results show that therapeutic exercise is a safe treatment that provides beneficial effects on migraines or TTH. Further RCT are required in the future with appropriate methodological designs to confirm these results.


Gil-Martínez A(1), Kindelan-Calvo P, Agudo-Carmona D, Muñoz-Plata R, López-de-Uralde-Villanueva I, La Touche R. [Therapeutic exercise as treatment for migraine and tension-type headaches: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials].  [Article in Spanish; Abstract available in Spanish from the publisher]. Rev Neurol. 16;57(10):433-43. Nov 2013.


The above research demonstrating that therapeutic exercise is a safe and beneficial intervention for migraine headaches will be encouraging for migraine sufferers worldwide.

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