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Deadlift Headache

Just curious if many people who deadlift get headaches from it. It seems like sometimes, usually on my last set; I sometimes get an instant headache. This doesn’t happen all the time, but frequent enough to be noticeable. This seems to be the only lift that causes this. The ache is at the base of the back of the skull where the spine connects.

It usually only lasts for several minutes. Just curious if other people have this happen and what they did to resolve it, if anything.

Breath when you lift.

Whatever you are doing is most likely increasing your blood pressure enough to cause the pain. Now a lot of people can “lift more” by holding their breath but you can also rupture blood vessels that way. If you are a professional lifter then you might do well to learn how to safely hold your breath and lift. But otherwise it is better to learn how to breath through a lift.

Now that said – to help strengthen your blood vessels in the head you should do Hand Stands every day (you can use the wall if you need) – work yourself up to 1 minute at a time. Over time this will make your vessels stronger and better capable of handling high blood pressure spikes.

Thanks for the reply. I found this quip from Charles Staley concerning breathing and the deadlift. "You’ll need to employ a Valsalva maneuver (technically, a forced expiration through a closed glottis) to lift any kind of appreciable weight safely.

The most effective breathing pattern goes like this: immediately before you pull, take a comfortably full breath and hold. As you begin to stand up, it’s okay to allow air to escape from your lungs ? under pressure. Once you’ve passed the sticking point, you can exhale fully. Next, inhale and hold again as you lower the bar back to the floor. Exhale fully as the bar reaches the floor.

Note: Most people will instinctively breathe this way, so don’t get too tied up with the science of breathing here." This is certainly easy enough to try. I love the deadlift, but those headaches are a pain. Thanks again.

I’ll agree with what everyone else is saying about breathing.

Happened to me once, about a month after I started deadlifting. Got a headache (which I usually never get) and broke a blood vessel in my left eye.

Had someone at the gym whose opinion I value watch me, and he told me I had been holding my breath without noticing.

I like the exhale with pursed lips. Keeps the abs tight.

I think once I did some damage holding my breath on bench press. I kinda hurt the side of my head(weird feeling inside). Then I got a numbness on that side for a few months after. Maybe I had a stroke…:slight_smile:

I got these before doing two things. When I would do a 20 rep squat, my head always hurt for the rest of the night. And when I would superset benching and push-ups, I would get an “instant headache”. It would shoot up into my head immediately.

I like that handstand deal. Any other tips out there?

you might be straining this muscle that is near your traps, I got this after a 20 rep squat program and did some research, I guess when it is strained you get headaches, someone else probaly has more knowledge on this.

After searching specifically about deads and headaches, I found this to be a rather common problem. Most responses to the problem have been about breathing properly. Tomorrow is my dead day, so I will be very conscious about breathing properly. Thanks again for the responses.

I’ve frequently had this problem with most lifts, expecially bench, high rep lunges, and deadlifts. Some days my headache was so intense that I had to stop lifting completely. I realized about three weeks ago that I always hold my breath when I lift. Since then I’ve worked to stop that.

I got this a lot too. I also get it on heavy leg presses and squats. For a few weeks I even got when I would jerk off, but it stopped after a while.

I’m not sure what the problem was, but I might have subconsciously fixed it by breathing better.

-dizzle

Migraine also explains part of the headaches caused by heavy lifting. I’ve had migraine episodes with aura (severe visual distortions) since early teens, and nowadays the episodes seem to appear occasionally after I’ve done really taxing deadlifts.

Apparently physical stress and low blood sugar levels are known to trigger the episodes, and I do my best to counter them: I eat more often and if I start feeling dizzy/weak during lifting, I start downing my post-workout drink. So far it’s worked pretty well.

Something I have not seen mentioned is CNS stress. Deadlifting (and squatting) are such big, full body lifts they can put a huge strain on your CNS, which can be manifested as a headache as well. When I first started powerlifting I was doing a tough workout of rack pulls.

I finally strained on a single to the point of seeing stars, almost passed out, and then had a two day headache. Plus, every time I tried to do anything heavy for two weeks after the headache would return.

However, after that episode I have learned more how to manage my workouts and the CNS strain. I continue to lift heavy and get stronger, but have not had the same problem I have occasionally bought myself a 2-3 hour headache, but that’s it.

[quote]A-Dizz wrote:
. For a few weeks I even got when I would jerk off, but it stopped after a while.

-dizzle[/quote]

yeah well jerking off is dangerous, more people are seriously injured by jerking off each year than are by whales, pigeons, and caterpillars COMBINED. That’s a scary stat…

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
A-Dizz wrote:
. For a few weeks I even got when I would jerk off, but it stopped after a while.

-dizzle

yeah well jerking off is dangerous, more people are seriously injured by jerking off each year than are by whales, pigeons, and caterpillars COMBINED. That’s a scary stat…[/quote]

Caterpillars are scary shit man, they’ll fuck you up.

-dizzle