There have been many studies on how carrying extra weight can affect headaches and migraines. Most of the data was from research conducted between 2000-2012. There’s been some very exciting new research that offers hope and a natural way to reduce these terrible headaches! This is welcome news in the U.S. where 67% of the adult population is overweight. New research from the University of Padova in Italy conducted in partnership with researched from the USA. The teams looked at 473, adults & children, patients from almost a dozen studies to deep dive into the effect of weight loss and migraine relief.S
The promising results were presented on 3/23/19 at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in New Orleans, LA. The findings determined that weight loss resulted in a significant reduction in frequency, duration and intensity of migraines and the associated disability. One of the most fascinating finding was that researchers discovered that how the weight was lost didn’t matter.
Whether through the more drastic measure of bariatric surgery or by simple behavioral changes, the patients realized relief! Additionally, it was discovered that neither BMI (Body Mass Index) as they began the study or the number of pounds lost did not have an effect on the improvement. Losing weight, even smaller percentages, can provide relief from these debilitating headaches!
What The Research Says…
The lead on the study was Dr. Claudio Pagano, M.D., Ph. D. He states “If you suffer from migraine headaches and are obese, losing weight will ameliorate the quality of your family and social life, as well as your work and school productivity. Your overall quality of life will greatly improve.”
He even goes further; “Weight loss in adults and children with obesity greatly improves migraine headaches by improving all the main features that worsen a migraine sufferer’s quality of life. When people lose weight, the number of days with migraine decreases, as does pain severity and headache attack duration.” Dr. Pagano states “Weight loss reduces the impact of conditions associated with obesity, including diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke and respiratory diseases. Obesity and migraine are common in industrialized countries. Improving quality of life and disability for these patients will greatly impact these populations and reduce direct and indirect healthcare costs.”
What you can expect…
Researchers were not able to pinpoint exactly why weight loss can be related to migraine headache relief, but they think it may be the improvement in behavioral and psychological risk factors along with reduction in chronic inflammation. All in all, if you suffer from severe headaches or migraines, consider this the sign you’ve been looking for to make a positive change and get back to living the life you deserve!
Check back for more articles in my migraine series!