1263 Days

I’ve heard that exercising is another way to help us manage our Migraines, but sometimes the thought of just walking makes it hard to imagine doing anything active.  My friends ‘made’ me get started again by not listening to me and enticing me with activities that I have always enjoyed playing.

Exertion triggered Migraines have been a problem for me for some time. About three years ago, I finally took a leave from the two sports I was still playing because of exertion or light triggered Migraines. I missed my sports and the camaraderie from these friends.

I did manage to play a couple of volleyball games last winter, but even with wearing a hat, the gym lights would always trigger a Migraine and I had never missed so many games before in any season or with any sport.  There was even one game where the volleyball seemed to grow these funny wings as it flew over the net.  I always felt like I was letting my team down by missing so many games.

After not playing for a couple of years, this past summer I decided to officially hang up my cleats and not play softball again.  Luckily, my friends weren’t as willing to give up on me as I was.  They put me on the roster anyway and told me it would be great if I could play but if I couldn’t, they would totally understand.

I currently take Botox as my main Migraine preventative and I get the most relief in the middle month of the every three month treatments. My softball team had some preseason practices this year.  Since these practices were in the middle month of treatments and if I was ever going to play this season, I decided to practice with my team particularly since it had been some time since I last played.

After two practices, I tried to tell my captain that I wouldn’t be able to play this year. She still wouldn’t hear of it and repeated that if I could play great and if not that was alright too. These practices were in the middle of summer days. While in the field, I couldn’t tell if I was fighting off real bugs or my own personal bugs that nobody else could see; I knew it was a Migraine aura breaking through. When it was my turn to bat, it didn’t get any better especially since during practice, you keep batting away and this can give you a pretty good workout.

I ended up not going to any games in the first half of the season.  The Botox wore off and my new treatment took a little while to kick back in. After half the season had passed, I decided to give it the old college try again. Our games were at night and therefore, under the bright lights. I wear a hat which I can usually use to block the direct light.  I also decided I would try the catcher position which I had never played before. I’ve always played the hot corner, third base, but I was not in the proper shape to play there this year especially with slowed reflexes.

Catcher ended up being a good choice for a couple of reasons. I didn’t have the same exertion that I had in the field and the lights are very different from this position. The face mask and batter’s cage added some protection from the lights plus it has a really good view of everything that is happening on the field. The dynamics of my team had drastically changed since the last time I played too.  About 25% of my team was now 18-20 year olds and had college ball experience!

The compromises I made helped me to enjoy a season and a game I was ready to give up on. I also realized that I needed to start a regular exercise regimen since I was terribly out of shape.

I ended up breaking out and dusting off one of those TV fitness game systems. It really didn’t start out well from the time I stepped on it not because of my Migraines, but this game had the nerve to tell me it had been 1263 days since I last worked out and that I had gained tons of weight!

These workouts have really not been that bad on my head. I feel like I am getting a good workout for me and that I can pace myself while the program keeps track of my progress.

My balance is improving, the exercise is helping me to manage my stress better and most of all, I don’t feel like I am stress eating as much as before. It’s a little early to tell if it is helping with my Migraines, but I feel better overall.

This is a start and I have a long way to go, but it is nice to be active and getting out with friends again when I can.  The new winter volleyball season has just started and so far it’s been working out a little better this year.

Have you been exercising or just getting started again? How have you motivated yourself to continue or get back into a routine? How do you manage through your Migraines to keep it up? Do you have the support of your friends or family?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (13)
  • lauren
    5 years ago

    This is a good use for F-41 tinted glasses–they don’t affect the opening of your iris, so they don’t work like sun glasses, but they sure do work to fend off light as a migraine trigger for me! I finally convinced the technician who does tinting at my East-coast college-town eye doctor plus optician’s office to order a bottle of tint–only the genuine tint developed at the University of Utah–and the effect is NOTHING like wearing regular sunglasses.

  • shine4him
    5 years ago

    Great story! I’m glad you’re getting back into it. BTW, would they allow you to wear some form of sunglasses during your games, if the light is part of your problem? I know a couple other migrainers that wear their sunglasses at night. 8′) It’s a fashion statement! Heehee!

    My sport is karate. I’ve been out for a while, though, not so much because of migraines but because of other medical issues. I can always use the inspiration. One of the most inspiring migrainers I’ve met so far is Ted Goodwin. Despite a 24/7 migraine since 2009, he’s been running marathons! I got to meet him a couple times at races, since my fiance is a marathoner as well. He just released a book, “Lessons From a Headache” that talks about his journey. Maybe it would encourage you too.

  • Annie author
    5 years ago

    Thanks shine4him. I could wear sunglasses and it would probably work better with volleyball than with softball. Softball is actually the only thing that I do now and where I wear my contacts because of possible distortions. I wish you the best of luck in getting back into karate. It sounds like such an all around body workout. I’ll check out the book!

  • nella
    5 years ago

    Good for you, Annie. I was an avid SPINNER. Attending 3 to 4 times a week. I couldn’t get enough. I’ve been trying to get back into it, but always seem to get derailed. I have a SPIN bike at home because I can’t tolerate noise of classes. I know, now, that I have to work with the body and head I have now and go from there. The key is getting started. It’s sounds like you’ve done that. Kudos to you!!! Keep up the good work and do what YOU can. Your friends sound wonderful, too!!! Thank you! You’ve given me hope. 🙂

  • Annie author
    5 years ago

    Thanks, Bella. It has helped starting out slowly and you can do it too. It is hard going from being active with things you enjoy to hardly doing anything physical. Keep trying and never give up!

  • Vicky Wemyss
    5 years ago

    I had my first trial of Botox on the 12th Sept. I haven’t benefitted as much as I hoped I would although I don’t think my migraines are quite as severe. I really want to try some exercise but in the past any form of exercise has bought on an attack within an hour of finishing the exercise. Can anyone advise a way of getting back into an exercise routine? I am 42 and have chronic migraine 50-60% of the time.

  • Annie author
    5 years ago

    Sometimes you don’t feel get the best results from your first Botox treatments and the second round is much better. That’s what my experience with Botox was like. It has really helped me to get some of my life back. Good luck with your next round.

  • AmyBabee
    5 years ago

    I think I will stick with walking for now. I bought an exercise ball and an arm stretcher. The stretcher works fine but still recovering from the dizzy spell from the exercise ball. I dont think any one suffering from migraine should exercise (ok, light exercise). Right now, I dont know which is worse, the side effects of ‘dopiramate’, the dizzy spell from exercise, or the fact that when I wake up and lie in bed each morning mentally checking my systems if all is well enough for me to even get up and start the day with or without medication. For the love of God, where did this disease come from, somebody? 🙁

  • Annie author
    5 years ago

    Walking is usually a good way to keep active. I can’t imagine using an exercise ball when just bending over can make me dizzy. I give you a lot of credit for even trying it.

  • Tn5259jn
    5 years ago

    I am an extremely active person but have struggled for years with injuries and migraines. I have just started doing Bikram yoga both to rehab from injury and to hopefully learn to deal with the stress and help with my chronic daily migraines. When I was admitted to the Jefferson,one of the things they tried to teach me was to meditate, and to use biofeedback. I was terrible at it. But, I really like the Bikram yoga, and I have noticed that when I finish a class, I am not in pain, even if I start out in head pain. Not it will usually come back in an hour or two…but just that brief period of time is blissful. It’s enough to get me back in the class again. I’m hoping that if I can continue the practice on a regular enough basis I can extend my painfree periods.
    Trecia

  • Annie author
    5 years ago

    I’ve done biofeedback, but never really tried yoga except for a small bit as part of the TV fitness program. I can see how yoga would be very helpful and relaxing. I think I’ll try more of the yoga exercising programs in program. Thanks, Trecia.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    5 years ago

    Hi Annie,

    I am so glad I started aqua therapy. My PT’s understand my need to start extremely slow. You wouldn’t even believe how slow. But I’ve made progress. My muscles are so terribly weak right now I am just barely able to get myself to a standing position from a squat, and can’t do a single sit-up. It’s going to take a long time to be able to do the things I love again, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes. So far the therapy hasn’t been triggering Migraines, and I’ve even been doing 30 minutes with a Migraine in progress – something I could never imagine before.

    Hang in there. I think we’re on the right track. Just gotta stick it out until we can eek out that tiny part of our lives we miss <3

    ~Ellen

  • Annie author
    5 years ago

    The aqua therapy sounds like it would be very easy on the muscles and joints. I’m so glad it has been working well for you! Slow and steady sounds like a good path to take especially if it’s some thing you can do with some Migraines. It can be hard to stick with it, but I keep trying to stay motivated because I know it makes me feel better. Thanks for another great idea Ellen.

  • Poll