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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

The Journal of Headache and Pain 1/2014

Does an aerobic endurance programme have an influence on information processing in migraineurs?

The Journal of Headache and Pain > Ausgabe 1/2014
Claudia H Overath, Stephanie Darabaneanu, Marie C Evers, Wolf-Dieter Gerber, Melanie Graf, Armin Keller, Uwe Niederberger, Henrik Schäl, Michael Siniatchkin, Burkhard Weisser
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1129-2377-15-11) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

Parts of the study were supported by grant from the german migraine and headache society (Deutsche Migräne- und Kopfschmerzgesellschaft, DMKG). All authors declare that they have no competing interests. We thank Dr. med. A. Heinze (Schmerzklinik Kiel, Germany) for recruiting of migraine patients.

Authors’ contributions

CHO, SD, MCE, WDG, MG, AK, UN, HS, MS and BW carried out the aerobic endurance study with patients with migraine, participated in the sequence alignment and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Migraine is a disorder of central information processing which is characterized by a reduced habituation of event-related potentials. There might be positive effects of aerobic exercise on brain function and pain. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of exercise on information processing and clinical course of migraine.


33 patients completed a ten-week aerobic exercise programme. To examine the influence of the treatment on information processing and attention, Trail Making Test (TMT) A and B, d2-Letter Cancellation Test (LCT) and recordings of the Contingent Negative Variation (CNV) were performed before and after the training.


Patients showed a significant reduction of the migraine attack frequency, the iCNV-amplitude and the processing time for TMT-A and TMT-B after treatment. Moreover, there was a significant increase of the habituation and positive changes in parameters of attention (d2-LCT) after the training.


This study demonstrates that aerobic exercise programme influences central information processing and leads to clinical effects on the migraine symptomatology. The results can be interpreted in terms of an improvement of a dysfunctional information processing and a stimulus selection under aerobic exercise.
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