How To Prevent Headache After Running
Would you like to learn how to ease and prevent headache after running?
Then youve came to the right place.
Headaches When Running are pretty common, especially among beginner runners or those training hard in hot weather.
In fact, exercise-induced headaches plague roughly a third of athletes, including runners, according to research.
You might feel throbbing pain on one side of your head or across your entire head.
There can be many culprits behind the pain.
Most cases of exertional headaches are harmless, but some serious headaches require medical attention.
In todays article, Ill look into some of the main causes of headaches during or after running and how to treat and prevent them.
Note. Im not a certified health professional.
The measures shared within this post are the results of my research and experience.
Consult with your doctor before you make any changes to your workout schedule.
Exercise As Prophylactic Treatment Of Migraine
In a later randomized comparative study in Brazil, it was concluded that the combination of amitriptyline and aerobic exercise, resulted in a greater reduction in frequency, duration and intensity of headache, and depression and anxiety scores compared to amitriptyline alone among patients with chronic migraine . KrÃ¸ll et al. recently conducted a randomized, controlled, clinical trial in Denmark evaluating the effect of a three-month aerobic exercise involving cross-training, biking and brisk walking on 26 persons with migraine and co-existing tension-type headache and neck pain . Exercise caused a reduction burden of migraine and improved ability to engage in physical activity. Migraine frequency, pain intensity and duration, were also reduced, but not significantly compared to controls.
There is limited evidence concerning the role of non-aerobic types of exercise in the treatment of migraine. In a randomized controlled trial 72 migraine without aura patients were randomly assigned yoga therapy or self-care. A significant reduction in migraine frequency was reported in the yoga versus self-care group . Moreover, a Japanese single-arm pilot study of 6 migraine patients, reported a 50% reduction of migraine frequency in 5 out of 6 subjects .
Find Your Triggers And Try To Avoid Them
Working too hard is the main cause of exertion headaches. But like migraines, this type of headache also has triggers, . Dehydration, sleep deprivation, blood pressure issues and your food and drink choices could all trigger an exertion headache after or during a workout.
Your best defense in this situation? Keeping well-hydrated, eating regularly, and getting enough sleep, to see if those changes keep the after-exercise head pain at bay, Erin Manning, MD, assistant attending neurologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, tells Health.
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Try Exercise Or Physical Activity That Isnt Aerobic
Although there are benefits to more vigorous exercise, exploring nonaerobic exercise can also be beneficial to people with migraine, says Bond.
For example, hatha yoga might be particularly efficacious for someone with migraine because it actually works on some of the mechanisms we see, such as neck pain and stiffness, anxiety, catastrophizing about pain, and stress reduction, he says.
Primary Vs Secondary Headache Symptoms
There are two primary exercise-induced categories according to science: primary and secondary.
The most common is Primary exercise headaches.
These are often benign and are not linked to any underlying condition.
These are often treated with standard headache therapy that includes rest and/or medication .
Common symptoms include:
- Throbbing pain in one or both sides of the head. Key tip, you can point where the pain site.
- The onset is either during or right after a hard run
- Symptoms sticking for more than 24 hours or lasting up to many days.
Secondary exercise headaches are what poses a dangeroften caused by a potentially serious condition or dysfunction with the brain , or outside the brain .
Although they mimic primary exercises, headache indications, the symptoms are typically more severe.
It might be, in fact, the worst headache of your life.
- Double or sudden blurred vision
- They often last up to several consecutive days, even worsen
- Loss of consciousness
If youre suffering from any of the above symptoms during or after a run, call your doctor immediately, especially if this is your first time.
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Headache After Excercise Is The Worst Here’s How To Treat It
Headache after exercise: Causes, treatment, and prevention
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Prevent Exercise Induced Headaches Excedrin®
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Manage Low Blood Sugar To Prevent Running Headaches
Im a big fan of intermittent fasting, and I love exercising on an empty stomach.
But for some runners, fasted-state training may force their blood sugar to plummet.
When this happens, you may start experiencing hypoglycemia symptoms.
These include sweating, irritability, tingly around the mouth, and not surprisingly, a throbbing headache.
To keep your blood sugar in check, opt for a well-balanced diet, adding in plenty of healthy sources of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Id also recommend eating a snack one to two hours before a run thats rich on carbs and protein.
My favorite choices include half a bagel with peanut butter, a fruit and nut bard, etc.
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Do You Have To Stop Exercising Altogether
I just spent thousands of dollars on a bike that goes nowhere. I love that bike that goes nowhere. I really dont want to give it up, nor do I want to stop exercising. I spoke with Carolyn Zyloney, a headache specialist and neurologist at Unity Rehabilitation and Neurology at Ridgeway , who explained the type of exercise leading to these migraines varies from person to person. But, she says, its usually brought on by and occurring only during or after strenuous physical exercise. People do not necessarily need to stop exercising entirely, but may modify their workouts to reduce the risk of a recurrent headache, Zyloney says. For example, they may reduce the intensity of their workout.
Thats no fun, though. I love spinning, and the intensity is what gives me the exercise highalong with the headache. I want one without the other. Sometimes, Zyloney says, I will prescribe a medication such as Propranolol or Indomethacin to take prior to exercise to reduce risk of an exertional headache.
Should You Seek Medical Help If You Experience Chronic Headaches During Or After A Workout
Unfortunately, some pain is inevitable for those who experience exercise-related headaches. However, itâs important to recognize when your condition may pose a serious threat to your health, and when to call a doctor.
If your headaches are new or different than usual, or if they last longer than an hour or two, Dr. Bain recommends talking to a doctor, especially if youâre over 40 years old. More immediate medical attention is required in the case of symptoms like nausea and/or vomiting, and unusual neurological symptoms like double vision, a droopy face, slurred speech, or weakness of an arm or a leg.
âIf your headache comes on suddenly, like a clap of thunder, you should go to the emergency room quickly,â Dr. Bain says. âIf you have a seizure around the time of your headache, you should seek evaluation as soon as possible.â
Due to the overlap between both primary and secondary exercise headaches, itâs never a bad idea to seek professional advice, Dr. Bain says.
Your doctor can facilitate a scan of your brain tissue via computed tomography scan or magnetic resonance imaging , or administer another test called a magnetic resonance angiogram that specifically looks at your blood vessels to see if your arteries have torn.
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What Do Migraines Happen After Workouts
Its pretty well-established within the medical community that exercise can cause migraines. But like many things about migraine, the exact link between migraine and exercise is frustratingly elusive. No one really knows why movement can trigger a migraine, other than that there seems to be a connection between sudden strenuous activity, says Gee.
The UK-based Migraine Trust notes that working out can be a catalyst for several migraine risk factors, leaving your body more vulnerable to them. Dehydration, falling blood sugar levels, and increased demand for oxygen from your lungs all of which can happen when you work out can all play some part in triggering a migraine. Exercise can also elevate your blood pressure, which the American Migraine Foundation says can be a factor.
Post-workout migraines sometimes have an environmental component, too. Research has found that exercise-induced migraines occur more often when exercising in hot, humid weather or at high altitudes, says Gee.
Are Certain Workouts More Likely To Trigger Migraine Headaches
As Dr. Bain mentioned earlier, more strenuous and high-intensity activities like rowing, running, playing tennis, swimming and weight lifting are prone to triggering headaches. However, a recent study found that high-intensity interval training, or HITT, is effective in reducing migraines in addition to moderate continuous exercise.
âMy sense is that low to moderate intensity workouts do not precipitate headaches as much as high-intensity workouts, though the study seems to contradict this,â Dr. Bain says.
One reason behind Dr. Bainâs prediction include the fact that HIIT is associated with more significant increases in blood pressure and heart rateâtwo factors may contribute to head pain. Despite ambiguity on the matter, as with all triggers, the exercise that incites a migraine in one person may not trigger any pain in another. Therefore, itâs best to determine what fitness regime works best for you, personally.
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What If You Get A Migraine From Exercising
For some people, it seems counterintuitive that regular exercise can help you. They worry that the exertion is what caused or set off their migraines in the first place. Sudden bursts of exertion do sometimes bring on migraines or exertion headaches. People may therefore be hesitant to use exercise as a tool in their headache management treatment kit.
While physicians agree that elevated blood pressure might contribute to a headache, however, dont let that be your excuse for avoiding exercise completely. Too many benefits accrue from exercising. Instead, migraine patients are advised to choose to integrate exercise, sports and movement into their daily schedules.
What Are Primary Exercise Headache And Cardiac Cephalalgia
Exercise has long been recognised as an important factor in maintaining good physical and mental health. However, for people with migraine, exercising can be difficult as exercise is a recognised trigger for a migraine attack.
Approximately 2-4 out of 10 people with migraine will report that exercise triggers an attack. In contrast, people who rarely exercise are more likely to have more migraine attacks and vice versa. Moderate aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging or cycling has been found to reduce migraine frequency and improve the symptoms of migraine attacks.
While migraine is common and exercise as a trigger for a migraine attack is also common, there are important headache syndromes associated with exercise which should be investigated and require specific treatment. Two specific headache syndromes associated with exercise are described below.
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How To Prevent It
Drink fluids before and during exercise. For some, slowly warming up before exercising can help to prevent exertional headaches. In other cases, reducing the intensity of the workout also helps to prevent them.
But if these dont help, or reducing intensity isnt an option, take indomethacin or prescription-strength naproxen. Youll need a prescription from a doctor for these. Both can cause stomach irritation in some people. If youre unable to take them, your doctor might suggest trying beta-blockers.
Dehydration happens when your body loses more fluid than it takes in. Chances are, you sweat when you exercise. This counts as fluid loss. If you dont drink enough water before exercising, its easy to become dehydrated.
A headache is often the first sign of dehydration. Other symptoms of mild dehydration include:
- heightened sense of thirst
Severe dehydration is a medical emergency. If you begin experiencing these symptoms, seek immediate treatment.
Being Active Can Relieve Stress Improve Sleep And Even Reduce Migraine Attacks
Exercise can be as beneficial for your mental health as it is for your physical health. Thats a particularly good thing for those living with migraine. Although it may be hard to exercise during a migraine attack, its important to try when you arent having one. Theres evidence to suggest regular exercise can help reduce the frequency of headache attacks. Not only does exercise reduce stress, a common migraine trigger, but it also helps with sleep and improves your mood.
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Get Moving In A Way That Works For You
In the past few years, there have been studies researching the helpful effects that aerobic exercise can have for people with Migraine. A 2019 review in The Journal of Headache and Pain demonstrated that aerobic exercise can reduce the number of Migraine days in people with the disease.
This is exciting news for people with Migraine who want to start or continue aerobic exercise. There are also ways to avoid getting a headache in the first place.
Low-impact exercise can also be a helpful part of a routine for people with Migraine headaches. Some low-impact exercise that many with Migraine and headache consider are listed below. There are many benefits to these forms of exercises and some of them can be combined with mindfulness and meditation which have been shown to help with Migraine control.
Exercise Tips For People With Migraine
Exercise may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks. Heres how to exercise safely if you have migraine.
If you have migraine, you may have heard conflicting opinions about whether exercise will make your symptoms worse.
Exercise can have a bad reputation in the migraine community thats largely undeserved, says Dale Bond, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Miriam Hospital and Brown Alpert Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island.
Regular exercise is associated with a reduction in the frequency and intensity of migraines, says Jennifer Kriegler, MD, a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
A good rule of thumb: Dont exercise if youre in the middle of a migraine attack, as it can make the pain worse, Dr. Kriegler says. When youre pain-free, on the other hand, exercising can help ward off attacks by relieving stress, a common migraine trigger.
Exercise also stimulates the release of feel-good hormones called endorphins and enkephalins, our bodys natural painkillers and natural antidepressants, respectively, according to Daniel V. Gaz, a certified exercise physiologist and the program manager of research operations at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Want to add exercise to your daily routine? Heres how to do it safely.
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What The Evidence Shows
Research shows more than one-third of participants in a 2013 study published in The Journal of Headache and Pain developed migraines they believed were brought on by exercise. These usually lasted from 5 minutes to up to 48 hours after the exercise, and occurred more often in hot weather or at high altitudes.
Exercises For People Who Experience Chronic Migraines
Not only will you get healthier and more energized by following an exercise regimen, but these are non-pharmacological options. They are also free and accessible ways to add to your migraine treatment.
Here are good activities that can reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines:
- Moderate-intensity aerobic activities. Walking, running and cycling are beneficial. They can help in your battle against migraines. According to a meta-analysis of studies on exercise and migraine published in The Journal of Headache and Pain, the evidence showed that these kind of aerobic exercises decreased the number of migraine days.
- Sexual activity is a proven way to help your migraines. That might not have been an activity you expected on this list, but you may want to consider devoting more time to lovemaking. Indulging in this sexual activity could help you diminish the severity of and perceived pain level during any attacks.
- Yoga is another great option. According to a recent scientific study, people with migraines who practiced yoga regularly had reduced frequency and migraine intensity.
Think about adding regular exercise, especially the low impact type, as a way to deal with your migraine headache management. Theres no need to rule out strength training if you can avoid strain to your neck and muscle tension. Seek out a credentialed personal trainer and recommendations from your neurologist or physician to guide you.
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Pain In The Base Of The Head During Exercise
Exercise can cause pain in the base of the head, which may also be accompanied by nausea and other migraine-like symptoms and pain in other areas of the head. Knowing what type of exercise relates to which headache and the headaches’ other symptoms helps you identify what might be causing your pain. See your doctor for changes in severity or patterns of exercise-triggered headaches, or if you become drowsy, numb, feverish or develop a stiff neck.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Your Blood Sugar Is Low
Low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia, can also cause a headache after exercising. Blood sugar refers to glucose, which is one of your bodys main energy sources. If you dont eat enough before working out, your body can burn through glucose, leading to hypoglycemia.
A headache is one of the main symptoms of hypoglycemia. Other symptoms include:
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