If no underlying structural or vascular problem is causing your exercise headaches, your doctor may recommend medications to take regularly to help prevent the headaches.
- Indomethacin (Indocin, Tivorbex), an anti-inflammatory drug, is commonly prescribed.
- Propranolol (Inderal, Innopran XL), a blood pressure medication, also is used to prevent exercise headaches.
Other therapies, including naproxen (Naprosyn), phenelzine (Nardil) and ergonovine, have been reported to be effective in some people.
If your exercise headaches are predictable, you may be able to take a medication an hour or two before a scheduled event, such as a tennis match or a hike at high altitude. If your exercise headaches are frequent or unpredictable, you might need to take the preventive medicine every day.
Feb. 14, 2015
- Cutrer FM, et al. Cough, exercise, and sex headaches. Neurology Clinics. 2014;32:433.
- Headache: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/detail_headache.htm#142883138. Accessed Jan. 19, 2015.
- Ropper AH, et al. Adams & Victor's Principles of Neurology. 10th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=690. Accessed Jan. 19, 2015.
- Cutrer FM. Exertional headaches. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 19, 2015.
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- Primary exertional headache. International Headache Society. http://ihs-classification.org/en/02_klassifikation/02_teil1/04.03.00_other.html. Accessed Jan. 19, 2015.