T Nation

Benign Exertional Headaches


I'm not sure if this is the proper place to post this but I usually only post in GAL and SAMA. Anyways two years ago I experienced a pretty bad headache while doing standing military presses. The load wasn't each that much, about half of one my one rep max. The headache started in the base of my skull and kinda progressed to both sides of my head. It was symmetric so to say. I ended see my GP and got MRI's done. I saw a neurologist who couldn't rule out any aneurisms and I was told it was a benign exertion headache. He said he could put me on beta blockers to prevent them but I didn't like the idea so I decided not to take them.

Fast forward 2 years to today and I have only had four similar headaches. They always happen when I'm dead lifting and I can't figure it out. My setup and form are good but not perfect. I usually stand feet pointed slightly outwards, a little wider than shoulder width apart, chest high, spine in its natural position (no abnormal curvature), and shoulder depressed and retracted. Today's workout went like this:

Warm Up set- 135# 1x12 reps (had no headache pain)
Set1- 225# 2 sets of 15 reps (no pain here either)
Set2- 315# 2 sets of 8 reps (no pain here)
Set3- 350# 1 set of 7 reps (began to feel some very mild pain at base of skull)
Set4- 375# 1 set of 5 reps (last rep of the set the headache really kicked in)
Set5- 405# 1 set of 3 reps (had a full blown headache and had to end my workout at this point)

The headaches never make me feel sick or nauseous either, they're kind of a nuisance to deal with. They go away in like 30 mins and I feel fine.

Have any of you guys had this problem and how did you cope? I could take NSAIDS before I lift but I'd rather treat the cause and not mask the symptoms. Any suggestions? I was thinking about seeing a sports chiropractor or something t see if my necks messed up or something.