T Nation

Exercise Induced Headache

After I exert myself, sexually or lifting, I get severe headaches. I looked this up online and I know it’s somewhat common. Mine are profoundly painful, to the point of being nautious. How has everyone else coped with it?

I used to get a pain that’d make the world go flashpoint-white. Dropped me to the floor a couple times after squat sets… and yeah, during sex a couple times. That was fun. :stuck_out_tongue:

Turned out that, for me at least, it was neck tension. Muscles that connect at the base of the skull were tightening up that much. Made worse by my job, where I tend to tilt my head forward too much, so the muscles were in a state of constant tension. Add to that a high level of stress in my life, and sudden levels of extreme exertion, and… well. It was less than fun.

Massage therapy has helped. So has regularly stretching my neck and trying to reduce stress in my life. Not having so much luck with the latter. :slight_smile:

[quote]KombatAthlete wrote:
After I exert myself, sexually or lifting, I get severe headaches. I looked this up online and I know it’s somewhat common. Mine are profoundly painful, to the point of being nautious. How has everyone else coped with it? [/quote]

I’ve had similar problems and they were related to nightness at the base of my head/neck.

[quote]KombatAthlete wrote:
After I exert myself, sexually or lifting, I get severe headaches. I looked this up online and I know it’s somewhat common. Mine are profoundly painful, to the point of being nautious. How has everyone else coped with it? [/quote]

BREATH!!! that would be my guess. After say a VERY heavy squat or pull I will sometimes get a splitting headache due to just the HIGH pressure you exert everywhere in the body, Holding breath and tensing every damn muscle you have also SKYROCKETING your BP for an instant. Causing the headache.

[quote]Phill wrote:
KombatAthlete wrote:
After I exert myself, sexually or lifting, I get severe headaches. I looked this up online and I know it’s somewhat common. Mine are profoundly painful, to the point of being nautious. How has everyone else coped with it?

BREATH!!! that would be my guess. After say a VERY heavy squat or pull I will sometimes get a splitting headache due to just the HIGH pressure you exert everywhere in the body, Holding breath and tensing every damn muscle you have also SKYROCKETING your BP for an instant. Causing the headache.

[/quote]

that has nothing to do with it. not breathing properly can cause dizziness and light-headedness, not extreme headaches during ANY type of exertion.

back to the topic: i have a friend who is in the EXACT same position as the poster, and i’m interested in finding out the cause. it began only occuring during his squat workouts, but now it’s happening during any type of training exertion. i think he might be compressing nerves in his neck or spine…

This might also be a potassium deficiency. Eat a banana two hours before working out, and see if the headaches still come.

[quote]snacky wrote:
This might also be a potassium deficiency. Eat a banana two hours before working out, and see if the headaches still come.[/quote]

it’s not a potassium deficiency.

Kombat,

I think I know exactly what you are talking about. About 3 or 4 years ago during a set of squats my head felt like it was being bashed with bricks or a baseball bat. No shit, it was terrible. It was the worst headache of my life.

I worked at a school for troubled teens and I had to wrestle an out of control kid into submission because he was attacking people, during that moment the headache came and I was totally disabled.

After some research I found what was simply called “exertion headaches”. I thought back to what might have caused it and I remembered a time when I stretched and something in my neck popped. So I went to a doctor and the dumbfuck told me to take ibuprofin and stop exerting myself. I felt like smacking him and his entire family for having paid hundreds for that advice. So I went to the chiropractor and I was better in two weeks. The headaches never came back and I am fine to this day. I am convinced that chiropractors are the way to go for this “injury”.

Kombat,

I think I know exactly what you are talking about. About 3 or 4 years ago during a set of squats my head felt like it was being bashed with bricks or a baseball bat. No shit, it was terrible. It was the worst headache of my life.

I worked at a school for troubled teens and I had to wrestle an out of control kid into submission because he was attacking people, during that moment the headache came and I was totally disabled.

After some research I found what was simply called “exertion headaches”. I thought back to what might have caused it and I remembered a time when I stretched and something in my neck popped. So I went to a doctor and the dumbfuck told me to take ibuprofin and stop exerting myself. I felt like smacking him and his entire family for having paid hundreds for that advice. So I went to the chiropractor and I was better in two weeks. Never came back. Fine to this day. I am convinced that chiropractors are the way to go for this “injury”.

[quote]beebuddy wrote:
Kombat,

I think I know exactly what you are talking about. About 3 or 4 years ago during a set of squats my head felt like it was being bashed with bricks or a baseball bat. No shit, it was terrible. It was the worst headache of my life.

I worked at a school for troubled teens and I had to wrestle an out of control kid into submission because he was attacking people, during that moment the headache came and I was totally disabled.

After some research I found what was simply called “exertion headaches”. I thought back to what might have caused it and I remembered a time when I stretched and something in my neck popped. So I went to a doctor and the dumbfuck told me to take ibuprofin and stop exerting myself. I felt like smacking him and his entire family for having paid hundreds for that advice. So I went to the chiropractor and I was better in two weeks. Never came back. Fine to this day. I am convinced that chiropractors are the way to go for this “injury”.[/quote]

i want to read about more examples like to help out my friend. that’s an interesting story. but ya like i was saying earlier this type of pain isn’t too uncommon, and it occurs primarily during squats. but it can develop into a pain that is experienced during any exertion.

i think it’s some type of compression of the spine/nerves, etc…

is this connected at all to the ‘squat hump’ that develops in the middle of traps for many people?

Huey,

The stretch I did produced a POP in the upper spine. Specifically what I did was bend forward to stretch the hamstrings. I went past the toes and grabbed the ledge underneath my feet in order to get a deeper stretch. When I did this I think it was the C4 that popped.

I got pain during any exertion except rock-climbing. Since you hang during rock climbing there is no spinal compression and that would support your theory (which I agree with).

My friend had the same headache problem and he just quit lifting for a few months and it went away.

If you have insurance then why not just go to the chiro? Maybe at least shoot Dr. Ryan a post in his forum. He is a chiro if memory serves.

[quote]KombatAthlete wrote:
After I exert myself, sexually or lifting, I get severe headaches. I looked this up online and I know it’s somewhat common. Mine are profoundly painful, to the point of being nautious. How has everyone else coped with it? [/quote]

I had similar headaches that you are experiencing resulting after playing a pick-up game of tackle football. The doctors were worried about it being a possible aneurism as a result of head trama. So they did some testing. I am of the opinion that todays doctors are extremely cautious but considering the severity of things I got it checked out. The results were negative and the headaches went away after about of week of “light” lifting. I am not saying that you should see a doctor but if you have had any head injuries you might consider it. Like I said doctors are a little too cautious for my liking and I try to stay away from them unless I feel it’s something serious. The reason I went to the doctor was not because I was scared something was severely wrong but I was pissed because I could not finish any of my workouts at the gym.

Thanks for all the advice. I don’t think it is holding my breath and exerting myslef; I have gotten those plenty of times before and the kind I am experiencing now are a much more ferocious and unpredictable beast. Im pretty sure its not head trauma, I am taking the spring off from wrestling and don’t play any other sports. I think it is spinal compression, as it seems to be less when I do a set of a few chins.

I’ll give some background on how they came about. I was having a great ME lower body day, I did a max set of rack pulls then annihilated four sets of 7 bulgarian squats after a battle to crank out those last few reps. I got a bad headache after that and lied down for a few minutes, but that happens a lot after I go balls-out. I went back for good mornings and I did those fine. Afterwards I thought to myself I really shattered homeostasis and induced enough trauma to cause new muscle growth…as the Bulgarian squats and good mornings totally beat the shit out of me. I put my foot in my mouth in being glad about disrupting homeostasis and soon enough I had annoying constant sinus pressure all the time. It is during the sinus pressure, which I imagine always being there just to a lesser scale, that the exertion induced headaches first appeared. I am thinking the GM’s could have compressed my spine if the bar slid too high.

See a doctor, Im assuming it has a great deal to do with bloodflow in your melon. Your best advice would be from a doctor.
However I tried Gakic 2 times and got lightening bolt pains above my eyes to the point I couldnt train. Im not sure why it effected me like that because my brother drinks it everytime and has no problems.
You didnt mention you were taking anything though
Good luck,
FF

[quote]FireFighter1046 wrote:
See a doctor, Im assuming it has a great deal to do with bloodflow in your melon. Your best advice would be from a doctor.
However I tried Gakic 2 times and got lightening bolt pains above my eyes to the point I couldnt train. Im not sure why it effected me like that because my brother drinks it everytime and has no problems.
You didnt mention you were taking anything though
Good luck,
FF[/quote]

it’s not a blood flow issue.

[quote]hueyOT wrote:
FireFighter1046 wrote:
See a doctor, Im assuming it has a great deal to do with bloodflow in your melon. Your best advice would be from a doctor.
However I tried Gakic 2 times and got lightening bolt pains above my eyes to the point I couldnt train. Im not sure why it effected me like that because my brother drinks it everytime and has no problems.
You didnt mention you were taking anything though
Good luck,
FF

it’s not a blood flow issue.
[/quote]

I cringe every time I see your avatar. You are the most annoying, know-it-all turd I’ve ever seen on this board.

Anyway I had this problem this past summer from a set of high rep (30) front squats. Doctors were afraid it was an aneurism or a tumor (LOL). Had the MRI and everything was fine, all neurological exams were fine. Neurologist diagnosed it as a migraine, said to lay off for a week or two and hopefully it wouldn’t come back. So far so good.

I have known a couple of people who had chronic migraines that nearly crippled them for reasons that were never known. They just happened, and no doctor could figure out WHY. The only thing that could be done is treat the symptom, and usually unsuccessfully.

I get migraines from certain types of food (too much dairy, too much starchy sugary crap, fast food) and car exhaust. They seemed to get migraines from being awake!

You may be the type to push harder than most when you go “balls out” in your lifting. Whatever it is, it’s your body warning you.

Good luck with all that.

SEE A DOCTOR. Ignore the idiot general practitioner and GET referred to a neurologist.

There are many things that can cause what you are experiencing and you want to rule out anything serious that could be life threatening.

Huey you don’t know crap, stop saying “it’s not this” and “it’s not that”, you have not got a CLUE if it is or isn’t neither for your friend nor the poster who started this thread. I am not trying to insult you and I realise you are just trying to eliminate things and narrow it down, but unless you do some bloodwork and examine the guy specifically, you cannot rule these things out. Nor can you assume that because it was the problem for one person that it is for another person.

Any one of the things mentioned could cause these headaches, either directly or setting off a chain of events. For headaches, ANYTHING can set them off including looking at a picture of a pink teddy bear dancing the cha cha on a lollypop. Let alone pinching an unrelated nerve in an unrelated part of the body that sets off a chain of associated tension in the brain that activates other nerves in a cascading pain response.

KombatAthlete I think you should get a checkup but my gut feeling is that you have some kind of alignment problem that you are unaware of that a good chiro can probably fix. Especially if you have a history of combat / weights. But see a neuro first to be sure. Nobody should have to live with headaches. If you can find a cause and fix them that is good.

i had that problem a few years ago when i was about 16-17 (im 22 now)

it started with heavy lifting, but for me was a bench press i was going all out and held my breath in and exerted so much force and then i felt like a pop in the back of my head near where the neck connects to the skull and i blacked out

that was a bit scary to say the least, it happened for months and months after and you know what i never got it checked out, why? well like people have said you get checked out and everything is fine, they really have no idea why migranes happen ( i consider it a physical stress migrane)

what i did/do to keep them from happening i make sure im always breathing right, i crack my own neck every day a few times a day, when i crack my neck the tension and pain just dissapears, i get enough sleep and i eat well

havent had any problems in a long while now, and yeah it was frustrating as hell especially during sex

oh yeah i also saw spots before and during the event, and what made it stop was just laying still and calming down all classic migrane symptoms

tumor.