T Nation

Headaches After Training

Hi.

Within the last year or so I have started getting headaches after I exercise. I am 31 and have been very active all of my life.

I was in the british forces for 6 years and the exercise I now do isnâ??t a patch on what I was doing, yet I never got headaches after.

I donâ??t train as consistently as I used to and have recently started back after a couple of months of rest.

When I first started getting them, they occurred after almost every session and once I started lifting heavier weights they became more painful.

I have just finished a session and it has been the worst one that I have had, although it only lasted 5 minutes or so.

I am unsure of what to do so would appreciate any advice.

Many thanks.

high blood pressure?

High blood pressure during exercise or in general.

If during exercise, is this normal and ok.

If it is in general what is the best way to sort this out.

Many thanks.

Sounds like High Blood pressure. Blood pressure naturally rises during exercise…but if yours gets to the point where it gives you headaches you need to see a doctor and get a blood test and a blood pressure evaluation. That way they can get your bp under control. IF its not that see a doc anyway! Thats pretty serious.

another possibility is muscle tension/knots in the upper trapezius area. I have had trigger
point work to alleviate this in the past. It is amazing how painful the knots can be when someone starts working them out. definitely check the blood pressure, but also check out referal pain.

http://www.pressurepointer.com/trapezius_trigger_points.htm

-good luck

-by the way, you can hit these points really good by lying on a tennis or racket ball

[quote]deuce22 wrote:
High blood pressure during exercise or in general.

If during exercise, is this normal and ok.

If it is in general what is the best way to sort this out.

Many thanks.[/quote]

do you use steroids?

I have had this happen a few times as well. It usually occurs when doing high reps in squats, leg presses or some other high weight exercise in the high rep range, 15+.

My research has lead me to believe they are exursion headaches brought on by not breathing correctly during the exercise. This leads to a spike in blood pressure, which then causes the headaches.

I have had them so bad before that the after effect was a headache for days.

The worse case was after returning to lifting after a layoff and then pushing through a relatively heavy set of squats.

I instinctually did the vasulva Manuever http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valsalva_maneuver, but did not breath enough and caused the problem.

My advise is to take a break until your head is no longer hurting, properly hydrate before lifting, focus on your breathing during heavy exercises, and stop when you feel the effect coming on. Do not try to push through it, because it only makes it worse.

As with most injuries, it goes away over time, so long as you address the cause and not regress to bad technique.

I had an issue with exertion headaches, it happened so badly after a set of 20 rep squats I couldn’t finish the rest of my workout. This took place for a week or two before I got my stubborn ass out of the gym for a little while. I took some time off and focused on proper breathing and it had gone away completely. I’d recommend checking your blood pressure too.

Are you breathing properly when lifting?

I dont naturally breathe well when I train my legs and I always get small headaches if I don’t focus on my breathing.

Thanks very much guy’s for all your advice.

I am going to see a GP and get it checked out just to be sure.

I’m not as consistent as I should be with my diet and strength training and have therefore been using M Rippetoe’s Starting Strength routine for over a year now.

I first started getting headaches around a year ago and because I have always been very active it is a new problem.

I have just started back after a couple of months and that could be the main problem. I also pushed myself a little harder yesterday, so maybe that’s the cause.

I will stick to this routine and be as consistent as I can and use lighter weight and build up gradually.

Thanks again.

dehydration is another possibility

Stop holding your breath when you lift and become really friendly with bananas.

I went to see the GP yesterday and he was absolutely crap. After telling him my symptoms he just sat there looking at me and then as soon as I told him that I’d been getting info off the net, he started going into one about “there’s too much info on the net and it will worry you more”.

We had a bit of a debate about it and then he checked my heart, eyes and blood pressure, which he said was all fine.

My blood pressure earlier in the day was 140/90 and the second attempt was 137/83.

I informed him that I have been working out for 18 years and have never had any headaches and all he told me to do was take 2 asparin before the session.

He couldn’t get it into his head that I wanted to know why I was getting them, not just how can I stop them.

He asked me if there were any family members with heart problems, which there is. My grandfather died at 57 from a heart attack, my one uncle has had a triple heart bypass at 62 and my other ucle has just had a stent inserted into one arterie with two others having to be cleaned at 55 years old.

He said that was a problem seeing as he is so young. I don’t want to start worrying over that considering I am only 32, but I have altered my exercise and diet anyway.

I will take all the info I have been given on this forum. I will start eating more Bananas, but what is the purpose of Bananas.

Cheers.

[quote]deuce22 wrote:

I will take all the info I have been given on this forum. I will start eating more Bananas, but what is the purpose of Bananas.

Cheers.[/quote]

some studies have shown that eating 2 bananas a day can lower blood pressure by up to 10%, from the high potassium content. try raisins also, much higher content.

[quote]deuce22 wrote:
I went to see the GP yesterday and he was absolutely crap. After telling him my symptoms he just sat there looking at me and then as soon as I told him that I’d been getting info off the net, he started going into one about “there’s too much info on the net and it will worry you more”.

We had a bit of a debate about it and then he checked my heart, eyes and blood pressure, which he said was all fine.

My blood pressure earlier in the day was 140/90 and the second attempt was 137/83.

I informed him that I have been working out for 18 years and have never had any headaches and all he told me to do was take 2 asparin before the session.

He couldn’t get it into his head that I wanted to know why I was getting them, not just how can I stop them.

He asked me if there were any family members with heart problems, which there is. My grandfather died at 57 from a heart attack, my one uncle has had a triple heart bypass at 62 and my other ucle has just had a stent inserted into one arterie with two others having to be cleaned at 55 years old.

He said that was a problem seeing as he is so young. I don’t want to start worrying over that considering I am only 32, but I have altered my exercise and diet anyway.

I will take all the info I have been given on this forum. I will start eating more Bananas, but what is the purpose of Bananas.

Cheers.[/quote]

Thats funny because i was going to suggest you take an aspirin before you go to the gym but decided to go with the banana route. Anyways as BOSTON said potassium lowers your blood pressure, but from the looks of it your blood pressure is fine. You might just need to work on your breathing and do some stretching. Other than that i’m out of suggestions. Good luck man.

[quote]GJA_BOSTON wrote:
another possibility is muscle tension/knots in the upper trapezius area. I have had trigger
point work to alleviate this in the past. It is amazing how painful the knots can be when someone starts working them out. definitely check the blood pressure, but also check out referal pain.

http://www.pressurepointer.com/trapezius_trigger_points.htm

-good luck

-by the way, you can hit these points really good by lying on a tennis or racket ball [/quote]

I’ll second this. I suffered from exertional headaches caused by trap soft tissue issues. Ibuprofen stopped the headaches, which occured during training and whenever my heart rate started to rise, so I figured it was due to some soft tissue inflammation in the traps. After doing some trigger point work and stretches, they went away.

[quote]P-Ha wrote:
I have had this happen a few times as well. It usually occurs when doing high reps in squats, leg presses or some other high weight exercise in the high rep range, 15+.

My research has lead me to believe they are exursion headaches brought on by not breathing correctly during the exercise. This leads to a spike in blood pressure, which then causes the headaches.

I have had them so bad before that the after effect was a headache for days.

The worse case was after returning to lifting after a layoff and then pushing through a relatively heavy set of squats.

I instinctually did the vasulva Manuever http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valsalva_maneuver, but did not breath enough and caused the problem.

My advise is to take a break until your head is no longer hurting, properly hydrate before lifting, focus on your breathing during heavy exercises, and stop when you feel the effect coming on. Do not try to push through it, because it only makes it worse.

As with most injuries, it goes away over time, so long as you address the cause and not regress to bad technique.[/quote]

Agreed. I used to swim distances and because I couldn’t hydrate and breathe adequately I’d get gnarly headaches.