Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This study investigated the effectiveness of a 12 week aerobic fitness training program at reducing migraine headache symptoms in a sample of formerly sedentary, community-recruited adult chronic migraine sufferers. Seven subjects (5 females, 2 males) monitored their headache symptoms four times daily throughout the five months of the study, which mcluded a one month baseline period, three consecutive months of fitness training, and a one month posttreatment period. During the fitness training phase, subjects' blood pressures and p"1se rates were recorded before and after each exercise session, which occurred three times per week. All subjects walked for .-0 minutes per exercise session at a rate sufficient to maintain heart rates in their aerobic training range, which was defined as 65 to 80% cf their maximum heart rate. Results indicated that the training program was effective at increasing aerobic and cardiovascular fitness. While there was no change in psychological distress (depression, anxiety, anger) as a result of treatment, a significant decrease was observed in headache index from baseline to treatment month 1. Peak headache intensity per week decreased significantly from baseline to treatment months 1,3, and the posftreatment month. Significant increases were observed for number of headache-free days per week from baseline to treatment months 1 and 2. No changes were observed in medication usage. These results suggest that an aerobic fitness training program may be an effective treatment for certain aspects of migraine symptomatology for some individuals who suffer from chronic migraine.