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J Headache Pain. 2012 Jan;13(1):91-3. doi: 10.1007/s10194-011-0369-6. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

Migraine with aura in the locker room: three case reports.

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  • 1Headache Centre, Neurologic Clinic, Santa Maria della Misericordia Hospital, University of Perugia, Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, 06158, San Sisto, Perugia, Italy.


It is well known that physical activity can aggravate the intensity of the headache, but the pathophysiological relationship between exertion and aura is still unknown. Anecdotal reports describe episodes of migraine preceded by head trauma and visual symptoms, migraine prodrome symptoms after unusually strenuous running with no subsequent head pain or recurrent attacks of hemiplegic migraine induced only by exertion. We describe the cases of three young men with recurrent episodes of migraine with aura occurring in the locker room shortly after a football match. Since the symptoms could mimic important pathologies in approximately 10% of these of headaches, it was mandatory to exclude a secondary form of headache in these patients. Several theories exist regarding the cause of primary exertional headache, but the pathogenesis of migraine triggered by physical activity has still not been identified. The present International Classification of Headache Disorders does not mention sport/exercise-induced migraine with aura episodes as primary headache. Since there are many cases described in the literature of migraine with aura triggered only by exercise, it may be helpful to specify, in the typical aura with migraine headache comments, that in some cases it can be exclusively triggered by sport/exercise.

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