T Nation

Headaches While Swimming


My girlfriend sent me the following email today, and I had no idea how to answer her. Anybody have any idea what this could be?

As I said, I couldn't really make sense of this. I used to get these when I was swimming, but drinking some water always made it go away. Anybody know?

[As a note, I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this, but I'm sure nobody'll be too offended even if they don't consider swimming a strength sport.]


The only times I got headache while swimming was when the pressure got to high from pushing harder and all I had to do was adjust my goggles.


Without actually looking at her or having pictures, my guess would be something more with having tight trapezius, scalenes, or sternocleidomastoid muscles. This is similar to the headaches people get with free-weights just from being tense in the neck.

Tell her to work on a good stretching routine. I like Mike Robertson's Hardcore Stretching. Focus on the neck muscles.

If that still is a problem, have her get her swimming stroke checked out to make sure she is more relaxed in the water, and isn't over using her neck muscles.


Thanks for the quick responses, I'll let her know.


I wouldn't associate BLACKING OUT with tense muscles and the pain is in THE FRONT OF HER HEAD. She needs to see a DOCTOR, especially if she is BLACKING OUT.


Albert B. Craig, JR., Summary of 50 cases of loss of consciousness during underwater swimming and diving. (Medicine and Science in Sports (1976) 8: 171-175


My little sister is especially sensitive to chloring and can't swim in a heavily chlorinated pool. She get's all these headaches while at the pool. Maybe this is your girlfriend's problem?

I used to have the goggles problem as well... lol make her loosen her goggles.