T Nation

Killer Headaches ONLY When Lifting

Hey guys,

I started CT’s “Get Jacked…FAST” 11 days ago.

Programs diet is very low carb

I added L-Leucine in on day 3 (first time user) and got a massive headache during squats. It was so bad, I had to wait 10 minute before attempting another set.

It slightly diminished throughout the workout, but I could feel the ache late into the evening.

This severe headache has reoccurred several times, and seems to be brought on the quickest when I’m fully exerting myself, which of course is killing my intensity.

One even occurred during an orgasm.

I found nothing relating l-leucine to headaches, and did read a bit on “carb withdrawl” headaches, but mine ONLY occur when I’m lifting.

Any help?

It might be a tension headache. Try taking very deep breaths in between sets, and make sure you breath during your set too.

Water intake?

I’ll read about tension headaches.

Water intake… unknown but my urine is almost always clear

Water, breathing, maybe potassium or magnesium…

I also began taking ZMA before bed with this program

Thanks WhiteTiger,

I’m not going to take a break
I don’t take any caffeine
I will test out the pre-workout aspirin

Did I miss anything from that?

make sure your breathing durring your rep

Thanks guys

I’d say it’s doctor worthy.

But on that note, how many carbs are you intaking for breakfast? I always got a shit load of headaches if i didn’t get a solid meal in for breakfast. I would generally eat a banana or something like that and then diet the rest of the day. It made me feel 10x better getting in a good breakfast.

Just green vegetables and a little from almonds

Definitely make sure you get some pre-nutrition, and drink more water. It’s not talked about much, but I highly recommend it. I had the same problems and once I bought a gallon jug, I just drink that throughout the day and when it came to my workout, no headaches during or after. Good luck man.

Get some Graston, ART, and/or trigger point therapy on your neck (SCM, sub-occipitals, etc.) and upper traps. Excessive tightness in these muscles is likely causing referred pain in your head.

I had the same thing happen to me about a year or so ago. The pain was unbearable. Two or three treatments with Graston and ART got rid of it and regular stretching and bi-weekly trigger point has prevented it from coming back.

It’s funny something similar also happened to me. Except I was getting these straight shots of pain. I’m not sure if by headache you mean the same, but it would only come from exerting myself in the gym real hard, like doing pull ups/chin ups, by the time I hit #12 the pain pulling up would be incredible, I had to literally sit it out a few times waiting for the pain to subside.

They’re gone now, and I don’t get them anymore. The only thing I changed in my diet that I can remember is taking 3 grams of fish oil instead of 2. But like Modok said, if it worsens, I would definitely go to a doctor and get it checked out, can’t ever be too safe.

I’d highly suggest seeing a doctor if it doesn’t go away soon. The fact that the headaches occur under high tension activities (lifting, sex) lend to the slight possibility of an aneurysm. Although that would be extremely unlikely, it’s better to be safe than sorry as a brain hemorrhage during these high tension activities could be disastrous.

Just a thought.

[quote]MODOK wrote:
Whenever someone says they get tremendous headaches under exertion, I get really nervous. It could be simply seasonal sinus pressure causing the headache whenever you BP rises during your workout or something simple and harmless like that. Their is always the very small chance of an aneurism though, which scares the shit out of me. Watch things closely…if you see any worsening of symptoms, get seen by an MD to rule out any neuro issues. [/quote]

X2, didn’t see it until after I posted.

I wish I saw this post two months ago! I had two crippling headaches while lifting heavy weights in the gym a few days before new years and on new years day itself. I went to the ER twice, the first time with nausea and vomiting. The doctor did no tests, just told me i had a muscle spasm. The 2nd time i went, they did a CAT scan an found bleeding in my brain.

I was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). This is kind of like an aneurysm like MODOK said. It is something i was born with, in one blood vessel i lack capillaries connecting an artery to a vein. The vein cant handle the high pressure arterial flow and it burst twice in one weeks time after holding up fine for the previous 30 years! Some surgery was done to repair it and also radiation, but im not allowed to lift heavy weights for the next 5 years…sucks. I hope you went to the doctor MM, best of luck, headaches during a workout are no joke!

agree with seeing an MD to rule out neuro. I got these headaches ONLY when lifting for a period of about a month. Leg day was unbearable. They lasted for hours after working out. I found numerous stressors were causing my headaches (professional and personal). As soon as stress was reduced headaches disappeared. Good luck.

Look up exertional headaches, I had the exact same thing about a year ago. I saw a doctor and got an MRA. The doctor found 2 spots he thought might be aneurysms, really scared me. The doc sent me to a neurologist who concluded they were exertional headaches and that the spots were bundles of blood vessels, not aneurysms.

I quit working out for about 2 weeks and they went away and haven’t been back since.