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20 Rep Squats Induced Headache

[quote]fatcat wrote:
I did a search and found some information, but most threads end with the original poster saying they are going to get it checked out and then never get back.

I was doing 20 rep squats 5 days ago, and on rep 18 I got stuck at the bottom, struggled, and dropped the weight onto the safety racks. Immediately after I got the most insane head pain right at the back left of my head. I wasn’t breathing correctly on the last few squats, and I assumed that was what caused it.

I finished up my workout with a bench press, dips and pullups and the headache wasn’t too bad. Later that night it hurt really badly, and then for the next two days it slowly subsided. 3 days in I did some pushups and right when I stopped the pain came back even worse. I assume this is an exertion headache. If I stretch my neck and my upper back it subsides for a few minutes, but it always comes back. Even if I just massage my neck the pain disappears for a moment.

I am just about to go to the clinic but I would be curious to know for anyone that has had one, how long has it taken to get over? I will for sure concentrate on my breathing from now on, but it’s been 5 days now of no lifting and it doesn’t seem to get any better. [/quote]

I would say that if your pain goes away with massage/stretching than it is a soft tissue related problem.

Are you keeping a neutral cervical spine with your exercises? If you somehow strained some cervical extensors during your squat by hyperextending the neck, it may reappear as pain in the following days if you continue neck hyperextension during exercises.

If it was a vascular problem (ie…vertebral artery occlusion), you could potentially feel better with some stretching, but you would also feel dizzy and nauseous. Worst case scenario…stroke.

And it sounds like you realize how important breathing is, which is a good thing. Often times you will see people holding their breadth on big lifts…which is not the best thing to do. This is called the valsalva maneuver- it is not your friend.

Post back when you get results from the clinic if you can, I am curious as to what the problem is.

my head begins to hurt whenever I bend over or lower my head below my abdomen level (like when Im about to deadlift) like I can feel the blood gushing through the back of my head

this began to happen after I got the crazy headache after the 20 rep squat

is this normal?

I had something similar happen to me back in the mid-90’s. Strangely enough it was after the “regular” squat session with heavier weights and happened when we just put on a pair of 45’s to see how many reps we could do.

I’m not sure what happened but after a set I had a horrible headache, and from then on for about a month, any time my blood pressure got too high when working out, it returned. I would have to press a weight for a while not straining too hard and trying to control my breathing.

Once my HR got up to about 130-140 the headache returned and then would fade as my HR dropped back to normal. It was frustrating feeling like you could never really “try” on a set.

Eventually it didn’t return and I was able to continue training. Most likely I pinched a nerve in my neck when the bar crept up a little high. I make sure I set the bar low on my traps and haven’t had a problem since then.