"Feel-good" natural sex chemicals — endorphins — are known to help alleviate pain (that's why laughter is the best medicine; when we laugh, we release endorphins). But a great session with your lover results in significantly more endorphins released by your brain than a good belly laugh. So much so that they can be a significant pain reducer for migraines and other headaches (and sex has plenty of other health benefits, too).

According to The Daily Mail, in a recent study at the University of Munster in Germany (reported in Cephalalgia, the journal of the International Headache Society), neurologists collected data for longer than two years on 400 people who had two different types of headaches. Turns out that some people either didn't care that their head was hurting, or maybe knew that sex could help, because 33 percent of those surveyed made love while having head pain. "Of those, 60 percent of migraine patients and 36 percent of men and women with cluster headaches had an improvement in symptoms."

"Our results show that sexual activity during a migraine attack might relieve or even stop an attack in some cases, and that sexual activity in the presence of headache is not an unusual behaviour," researchers told the newspaper. "Sex can abort migraine and cluster headache attacks, and sexual activity is used by some patients as acute headache treatment."

Thirty-six percent of men and 13 percent of women used sex to relieve a migraine, and almost 20 percent experienced complete relief from their symptoms after sex (about 50 percent had partial relief). These results are as strong as those for pain-relieving medicines from the drug store. 

The only problem? It's not always convenient to have sex when you get a headache; and over-the-counter drugs are discreet and easy to take. And not everybody has a regular sex partner in their lives (about 50 percent of us are single these days). But if you have a willing partner, it's the weekend, or you have had a headache all day that's resistant to painkillers, you have good reason to try sex. Instead of putting it off when you have a headache, it might be a good reason to start smooching. 

Related posts on MNN:

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Sex is better for headaches than painkillers
It might not always be convenient, but a 'roll in the hay' may cure your migraine.