Instant Headache?

I was squatting and on my last rep of my last set, I got an instant headache right when I came up. What is that the result of? For context, I was bracing with each rep and this was the most weight I have lifted. It was a difficult lift but not THAT difficult. I got my full 12 reps for that set.

Blood pressure, most likely

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@TrainForPain How do I avoid that?

You check BP and if its always bad, you go to the doctor.

@hankthetank89 Well I was asking more along the lines of how do you keep it from spiking to cause a headache, but your response is appreciated nonetheless. I haven’t had chronic high blood pressure before and I have no reason to think I have it now, so I don’t think it is always bad. However, perhaps stress from the holidays could be a contributor.

I also found what is called an exertion headache, or sometimes known as a weightlifter’s headache, from quickly dilating veins and arteries to maximize blood flow, which can cause increased blood pressure and a resulting headache. Interesting.

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If it spikes every time when you squat, you have to adress the problem and look for a cause, not try to mask the side effects.

I had this for a while and it was crippling.

I consulted Dr Google and found out that eating a lot of canned sardines could possibly be the cause

At the time I was eating a shit ton at work as a quick cheap meal

I ‘canned’ that for a while and crazily enough, the headaches disappeared



@LoganAY I think you’ve figured it out: braving hard is probably going to increase blood pressure. Ever seen the nose bleeds the world record lifters get?

Keep an eye on your hydration (both water and electrolytes) around training. @ChongLordUno made an interesting discovery for himself - I’d be willing to bet those sardines were packed in sodium. If you have an orange and a pint of water 30 minutes before the gym, and they go away, I think we’ve figured it out.

Obviously if blood pressure is a chronic issue, address it. If the headaches are debilitating, I’d probably talk to a doctor too. You don’t want an aneurysm because some guy on the internet told you this is normal.

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Fair point. This is the first time I have ever had one so it is difficult to say whether anything spikes every time. Perhaps if it happens again, a doctor visit might need to be scheduled. @TrainForPain Physical exertion can also cause general head pressure that leads to a headache without necessarily causing blood pressure to go up but the chances increase with higher blood pressure. @ChongLordUno so perhaps dieting was involved?

Given this is the first time, I’ll document the context and then if it happens again, compare contexts. I’ll phone the doc in the meantime to get her opinion. Thanks all.

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This sounds like an exertion headache.

Happens to me when doing particularly shitty WODs or something dumb like 20-rep Squats. As your body adapts, they end up going away - but can come back if you bring in some new training nuance.

I agree. I still think acute rise in blood pressure is the precipitating factor. I read something once about a theory that “exercise headaches” are resultant of cranial blood vessel dilation, but that seemed scary so I immediately stopped considering it.

Either way, it’s a :man_shrugging:


@hankthetank89 @ChongLordUno @Andrewgen_Receptors @TrainForPain
Update: Talked to the doc. She said rest and then during my next workout, measure blood pressure before the workout and 30 minutes after the workout. We are looking to be below 140/90 at the 30 minute mark post workout. She also said that congestion can lead to this, which I have been a little congested the past few days. Anyway, I’ll try to update again (after the next workout) with the results.


@hankthetank89 @Andrewgen_Receptors @TrainForPain @ChongLordUno
Update: 5 minutes before workout I had a blood pressure measure of 123/74 with a HR=98. Thirty minutes after the workout, I had a BP measure of 114/61 with a HR=93. I imagine this suggests that BP is not likely the culprit. However, I’m going to measure again next workout mid workout and immediately after the workout along with before and 30 minutes after. I’ll report all of this to my doc. I have been dealing with a cold the past week and my doc said that congestion and sinus pressure could be the cause or at least catalyst. My first headache occurred at the onset of my cold. I tried working out during the middle of my cold and got a headache again but was able to make it go away within 20 mins with ibuprofen. I did not get a headache this workout. I might just need to take it easy when having sinus pressure or congestion. We will see what the doc says.


@TrainForPain @hankthetank89 @Andrewgen_Receptors @ChongLordUno
Last time I’m tagging y’all I promise. My congestion has calmed and I did a full workout today with max reps and increased weight across the board and no headache. Hoping this trend remains and that this is the explanation. Thanks for the tips and advice everyone.


When I started taking isosorbide mononitrate the nurse warned me that the first few days would be rough. I had thunderous brainsplitting headaches for about 3 days.

Ridiculous superhero looking veins/pumps on the guns though.