By Migraines I mean a headache which is accompanied by visual disturbance symptoms - in my case a blind spot which expands and progresses into jangling patterns across my field of vision for half an hour or so - and/or nausea.  Of the three times I have now run 5k, twice it has been followed some hours later with multiple episodes of this type.  One body of opinion is saying "you're doing too much" "it proves running's bad for you" etc.  I'm inclined to respond that if I keep running I'll get fitter and it won't be such a stress on my body and then I won't get the migraines.  Also I think a 5k run followed by a nine hour day in the office going against deadlines hasn't helped today!

It's very frustrating.  Does anyone else suffer from this?


  • Once or twice a year I experience the same "visual disturbance symptoms" (followed by a mild headache, haven't had a full on brain splitting, throwing up migraine in years, I put that down to cutting out all caffiene and most dairy)

    I've had the "blind spot/jangling patterns" thing during periods were I've been doing a lot of hard running/racing, but also at times when I haven't been running for months, I have had them come on during a run and ran through them.

    I've haven't been able to link anything to what is causing them, seems completely random to me.

  • Oh I've had one come on while Morris dancing and carried on, which is interesting when you can't see the end of your stick properly!  I've always connected them with being stressed (that time we were dancing really late at night and thought we had no musicians until the last minute).  But then again I've been stressed plenty of times and NOT had one.... sometimes it does seem really random you're right.

  • Only ever had one. Did a Max HR test as prescribed in some book, then had one 5 or 6 hours later that evening, visual only with no headache whatsoever.

    Had never heard of them before, as you can imagine it scared the bejeepers out of me until Google came to the rescue...

  • chazzersdad wrote (see)

    Only ever had one. Did a Max HR test as prescribed in some book, then had one 5 or 6 hours later that evening, visual only with no headache whatsoever.


    That's really interesting because it ties in with other episodes I've had after playing  hockey when not very fit which is quite a high intensity ask.  I wonder if it's linked to blood pressure.  Really I could live with it, I just have a niggling worry it's a symptom of something dangerous - don't want to do an Andrew Marr!

  • ClagClag ✭✭✭
    I occasionally get migraine and if I do it's usually connected to a hard effort, either long run (in marathon training, possibly dehydration?) or maybe a speed session or race.

    I get an aura, either can't focus on reading, or flashing lights & visual disturbance. Having spoken to the pharmacist I now take soluble aspirin at the first signs. This takes the edge off things quickly and avoids the subsequent banging headache (which feels like a monstrous hangover, intense pain whenever I move) which would usually last at least the rest of the day.

    Hope you get sorted out.
  • I used to get migraines regularly, though not particularly triggered by running. A couple of years ago a health test picked up my high blood pressure: something I was vaguely aware of but it had now get to dangerous levels (220 over 140). This was after a year of running and losing about 3 stone. Anyway, I was put on medication and the blood pressure has come down to nearly normal levels, and the migraines have gone. Probably worth getting your blood pressure checked.
  • Yes I get the aura and migraine regardless of activity levels. My heart rate and blood pressure are in the low healthy range, so it's not that in my case. If I get a migraine after a run, eating seems to help. A friend who suffers very bad migraines says a trigger is 'change' of any kind, ie changes in food, sleep, activity, shifts.  

  • I get the visual disturbances without the pain afterwards, just a bit of nausea. I get them about 2-3 times a month, usually when I'm tired or hungry. I was referred to a consultant and had an MRI scan which was clear. The consultant didn't seem too concerned about them and said it was up to me whether I wanted to take medication to try and stop them - apparently a short course of medication is sometimes enough to 'flick a switch' that stops them (it sounded a bit more scientific the way he put it...) So I went on medication without realising it was beta blockers and the effect on my running was awful - like running through treacle every time - so I decided to stop. I don't drive otherwise I'd be more concerned about them - they're annoying but bearable.

  • I have run 3 parkruns since start of year and have suffered a migraine on two of the runs - in my case it starts with the visual disturbance and I think oh what's that, then I know what it is and then the field of vision it disturbs grows - both times I have caried on running and hoped it didn't develop into something else - a stroke I suppose I mean. Last time I did a PB of 19:54 running half the race not being able to see in front of me properly for over a mile then it cleared up.

    Both times I jogged two and a half miles home afterwards and then took a couple of paracetamols which minimised the banging headache.

    I have suffered occassionally from them in the past - maybe once a year over last 10 years - causes as follows:-

    1) Severe stress at work

    2) Hard session at gym

    3) Stress at work followed by bike ride

    4) After a flight at the airport while waiting for my luggage to arrive - I had eaten a lot of cheese over last couple of days and wondered if that might be a cause.

    I have never actually had a migraine as a result of using my computer but if I look at the screen a lot over the course of a day that makes me feel migrainous - sufferers will probably know what I mean by that.

    It also gives me a numb face sometimes - all three of my daughters, 21,21 and 15 have suffered at least one attack although my wife has never had one. 

  • JJ2JJ2 ✭✭✭

    I would recommend seeing your GP for an overview.(An interest to declare here, being a GP myself)

    It does sound like typical migraine. I have had attacks since the age of 10 with a strong family history too. If it's any consolation, it improves with age.

    Personally I find any increase in intensity of effort is a trigger for me eg running further or faster. Using a heart monitor has been helpful in the past for this. Regular eating & not running without any calorie intake is also important. I have certainly found that getting fitter but taking it gradually to do so means that the symptoms trigger less easily.

    I used to struggle with runs at a distance of 5k but just did VLM last Sunday so don't let the non-running doubters put you off.

    It's probably a good idea to find something that you can take for an acute attack that works for you, there are many options both on prescription & off. Take your chosen 'poison' as soon as the attack starts, it works better that way

  • I have low blood pressure (90 / 56) and can get the symptoms mentioned fairly regularly.

    I have to make sure my sugar levels are kept up, which is a great excuse for snacking! I run regularly, but find I can get a bit light headed afterwards, with "blind spots" and sometimes a head ache, so I normally take a few sweets out with me and have something to eat once I get home.

    Also try to keep hydrated, especially leading up to a run. I used to get a lot of headaches when I was younger, and after MRI scans and lots of doctor visits it was decided I wasn't drinking enough throughout the day which was causing the headaches!

  • JJ2 wrote (see)

    It does sound like typical migraine. I have had attacks since the age of 10 with a strong family history too. If it's any consolation, it improves with age.

    Maybe you are male - it's gettng worse with age here!  My mother in law has taken it as clear evidence that I am reaching a "certain age".  Mine got worse with my second pregnancy aged 34, including one where I lost the power of speech and got whizzed to hospital.

    It's very reassuring to hear all the stories about physical or emotional stress bringing them on.  I'm going to get my BP checked too.

    The only good thing about having them in quick succession is that the painkillers have kicked in by the second or third one and I can laugh in its face!

  • JJ2JJ2 ✭✭✭

    Nope, female!

  • So, low blood pressure OR high blood pressure seem to be a factor... mine was 118/75 when I went to the chemist yesterday.  Could get better with age or worse.

    Migraine doesn't follow very many rules, does it... dam' things!  But taking in some calories and not getting stressed seem to be key.  PB at parkrun today and no migraine yet...

  • I seem to be your polar opposite. I get migraines if I do not run!

    It took me years to figure it out, but if I stop running I can guarantee my migraines will restart within a fortnight.  They stop soon after I restart the exercise.  I have never been able to figure out the minimum amount of exercise I need to do purely to stop the migraines.  There was a scientific study carried out in 2009 in Sweden which also came to the conclusion that a lot of migraine sufferers would do better to exercise and ditch their medication.  I can't lay my hands on the details at the moment.

    I can't tell you how happy I was when I realised that doing something I enjoy prevents me from suffering migraine attacks.  My last attack was 11 months ago, which occured only nine days after I had to stop running following a minor operation (I keep records to look for patterns image).

  • The study is mentioned in the following article, but the study itself no longer seems to be available by following the link contained within the article.

    Migraine and Running Article 


  • marshallinimarshallini ✭✭✭

    Just done a hard 14.5 mile hilly offroad run (finished about 1pm) and I'm starting to get the visual distrubance now.  My general diet has been good the last few months, but I have started eating more food that help keep my blood Ph more alkaline, is there a link there?.

    Going to lie down in a dark roomimage


    Edit: Didn't get as far as the dark room,  that came and went in no time, 20 minute start to finish, normally 45-50 mins, lets hope they are all that short from now on.

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