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Exertion Headaches


What's up guys
For the past week I've been getting this terrible pain in the base of my skull every time I do anything weight-training related. I looked it up and it's called an exertion headache. Have any of you ever had this before? I've never had any type of head pain from lifting and it's seriously impeding my training. Any advice will be very appreciated. Thanks.


Did you fall and/or hit your head recently? What sports/athletics do you take part in?

Pain at the base of the skull could be from many different things. Significant stuff can include fractures, disc issues, etc. Less significant stuff can include offset vertebrae, muscle spasm, etc which can be fixed by a good manual therapist (MET, strain counterstrain, fascial work, etc).


The exertion headache is very common and is typically caused by lack of hydration, breathing technique, or a trigger point. Once you get it the only real fix is to lay off the activity for a week or two. There is really nothing else you can do.


About 8 months ago i started getting these at least once a weak. The ONLY time i would get them was when doing pullups to failure. Immediately afterwards i would be in excruciating pain that was bad enough i would have to sit down for about 10 minutes before i could continue to lift. I realized i was tensing my neck very hard when doing this exercise til failure and once i broke that habit, i havent suffered any since.

Now if you're getting exertion headaches from just about any type of lifting, that could be something more serious and/or more difficult to fix. But maybe just concentrate on the way you are lifting and what you are doing with your neck/head angle/shoulders and see if that could be the problem.

Hope this helps a little. Exertion headaches suck


I used to get them a lot, they went away when i focused on not clenching my jaw or squeezing my neck muscles when doing heavier lifts. i also found not going to failure as much helped a lot.


I had them once while deadlifting, had to stop lifting for like 3 weeks, i couldn't even jerkoff that it would come hard.


absolutely and the breathing issue can go hand and hand with the neck issue. i would get a lacrosse ball and do some soft tissue work around the upper trap area and surrounding the scaupla