T Nation

Pain in the Back of My Head?


Wasn't sure where to post this but was wondering if this has happened to anyone else...

Was doing a 20 rep squat the other day to finish a leg session and the final rep was ugly but as I was pushing it up I got a real bad pain in the back of my head on the left hand side at the base of the skull like someone had clubbed me.

I had a bit of headache for a couple of hours but it subsided after a while. Now the last two sessions I've done I've attempted my usual jump rope warm up and the pain comes back like there is pressure building or something.

I've completed the workouts with no real issues, weights don't seem to be a problem, its just jump rope seems to bring the pain.

Does this sound like a burst blood vessel? or something else? is this a GP visit?






Had this before a few times. It's due to straining too hard and/or not breathing properly during your set.

A good remedy for this is to not strain yourself so it doesn't hurt, and ice the back of your head/neck.

Should be gone in a week.


Go see a doctor now.


what he said


I've had what sounds like the same thing doing dips, very intense headache. I saw a doctor about it and was told that it was the upper/back of my neck causing the problem even though it didn't really feel like it. Apparently a slight pull in the muscle just below the back of your skull can result in brutal headaches.

It took a couple of weeks to fully go away. Other guy in my gym got the same thing leg pressing somehow!


it was most likely caused by the weird breathing patterns that 20 reppers cause you to have. i would see a doctor if it persists but overall i don't think it is a long term thing. google valsalva manuever/effects and see if you find something that matches the feelings that you had


It sounds like exertion headache. I used to get them real bad and it took about 3 weeks off to get back to normal. Tell me if this article is what you are experiencing...
Either way you may want to see your GP.


It's weird, one of my friends had it happen to him recently too. Went to the doctors and he explained what happened and they said it was anxiety. LOL


cheers everyone.

zillah that does sound about right, it is right at the base.

strange thing is today I was rack pulling heavy fine, doing heavy rev lunges, lungs were pounding but I didnt feel it. i only got it when i was trying to warm up with the rope.

Cant quite tell much about a headache as I started the AD last week so I've kinda been a bit foggy anyway.

I'll give it till the end of the week and see what happens. if its not got any better time to call the doctor and see whats up.

Its anoying as I dont really want to stop as Im going to have to have two weeks off at the beginning of next month anyway.


could also be due to the fact that squats put weights relatively close to the base of your skull while rack pulls and stuff like that don't. i don't know if you were doing bb or db lunges, but that could affect what you are/are not feeling


I have had what you describe happen to me several times over the past 10 years.

I have gone to Neurologists and spine docs as well as my GP MD. They all came to the conclusion that when you Valsalva (hold breath and push) you can dis-align your spine and the related blood vessels.

They recommended 3 weeks of non-intensive workouts i.e. supper setting chins and dips at bodyweight. Combined with stretching and ice post workout, also keeping breathing steady.

I have used massage and chiropractic as well. Your symptoms should be gone in a couple of weeks.


You should definitely go see a professional about this problem to rule out any immediate problems.

FYI only...

Sounds like you may have strained your posterior neck muscles either the upper traps or the underlying cervical muscles, which have attachment sites at the back of the skull or levator scapulae or SCM all of which have referred pain patterns, which can exhibit as headache. Considering you were doing 20reps squats with ugly technique as you put it, this assumption 'MAY' be correct. However' do not rely on internet posts to self diagnose. Go see a professional therapist if the pain persists.

check these links out...


I think that might be it,

It only got ugly on the final rep, 1-19 was pretty much spot on.

fortunately its not painful most of the time. Im aware of it at the moment but it doesnt hurt. we'll see what happens. If its not improved by my planned break it will probably be a doctor visit.


you are in England, doc visits are free. Coffins however still cost money.


It used to happen to me all the time but I started paying more attention to breath and form which helped.

I recently had it again but the headache lasted for three days. I went to the chiropractor and he's been fixing me up once a week.

Even if it's not nervous system related, the chiropractor makes you feel like heaven so I'd reccomend it anyways.


I second the chiropractor recommendation. Sounds like a cervicogenic type problem which tends to radiate up the musculature of the back of the neck/head and, as Utah said, when increasing your intraabdominal pressure (Valsalva) can potentially cause the spine to slightly misalign causing pain. I assume this would be even more likely when the pressure is increased for as long as a 20 rep squat. Chiro's specialize in this type of thing.


This has happened to me with dips as well. Thanks for the info.


Yep had it, try taking it easy for a week then see how you feel. Mine was gone within a few days


I'm glad you posted about this, I was thinking about making a post about this subject tonight. This is gonna sound fucked up and stupid but everytime I have gotten them they occured during masturbation. It was awful, the pain hits you in an instant right at the back of the head,imagine my shock when I'm about to bust a nut and I end up feeling a shitload of pain instead.

I thought maybe I burst something in my brain it was so bad. Anyways it happened a few months ago, and happened again a couple days ago, except this time I realized that I had an aching feeling running from my trap up to my neck. Stretching it out made it feel alot better but the headache still gets aggravated by certain things, especially jumping.

Last time it took two or three weeks to feel better. I guess what ever I was doing while lifting weights caused me to tense up the wrong way and then when i uh, decided to relieve myself it was the straw that broke the camels back or something. FML