Exercise Headaches


Is my Exercise Routine Causing Headaches

Exercise, as we know, is a healthy practice that leads to one’s overall well-being. It has tremendous long-term benefits and keeps many illnesses at bay. People who exercise regularly also experience fewer instances of headaches.

However, the paradox is that an exercise regime if too strenuous or performed in a less-than-perfect setting can be a vital trigger for headaches. Sports like rowing, swimming, running, weightlifting, tennis are the most likely activities to trigger a throbbing headache.


Exercising Caution: What is Causing My Headache?

If you are frequently finding yourself dealing with a headache after a workout, you need to identify the cause. Exercise headaches can be divided into two categories; primary and secondary headaches. Secondary headaches are triggered by other underlying and serious illnesses to the brain, not connected to the exercise.

The exercise merely brings the symptoms to the fore. This kind of headache may include vomiting, double vision, and neck rigidity, and will need urgent medical intervention.

The more commonly found instance is that of a primary headache. This will typically disappear anywhere within a few minutes to 2 days. The problem is, this type of headache can cause throbbing pain that is triggered by a particularly strenuous exercise regime. It can affect both sides of the head or even the frontal area.

It is difficult to say what exactly causes an exertion or exercise headache but the most popular theory suggests that the headache is a result of blood vessels inside the skull dilating during rigorous exercise. The other reason given is a rapid drop in sugar levels after exercise.


Tackling Exercise Headaches

While it is difficult to exactly pin-point the cause behind exercise headaches, some of the triggers for primary headaches are well-known. Dehydration is a common trigger, as is working out in the sun. Also, those with a family history of migraines are more likely to suffer from this kind of headache. Yet, exercise headaches can be dealt with if the proper precautions are taken.

  • Doing Warm-ups: Headaches are triggered when your body temperature alters drastically. Do not shock your body. Do not start any intense sport or exercise without a good warm-up.
  • Drinking water: Dehydration tends to bring on headaches, so make sure to keep sipping water while exercising. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Avoid heat and sunlight: Warm weather tends to trigger headaches, which is why many individuals experience headaches after walking around in the hot sun. Choose an appropriate place for exercise.
  • Scalp and neck massages: These can also prove very useful. if the pain continues, take medication prescribed by a doctor.


At the New Jersey Headache Institute, we specialize in treating all kinds of headache-related issues and have a wealth of experience in this field. Our team of experts and counselors work with patients to diagnose the problem and tailor the right treatment plan

Call our specialist consultation team today at 908.315.5707 or use our contact form to book a consultation and end your exercise headaches.


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