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Why Do I Get Migraines When I Workout

Pay Attention To The Weather

Why do I Get Headaches After Exercise

Changes in the weather can impact your migraine patterns. High humidity and hot temperatures can stimulate headaches, as well as rainy days. If the weather becomes uncomfortable for you, you may need to step inside and take a break from the outdoors. Of course, you cant always avoid going outside, but you can minimize your time spent in certain headache-inducing weather.

Reasons You May Get A Headache After A Workout

Whether you workout on a daily basis or are a weekend warrior, or whether you run in the park or lift weights in the gym, it is not unusual to experience a headache after exercising. This may seem counterintuitive since physical exertion would actually seem to lessen muscle tension and increases blood flow to the brain. But many people experience throbbing, aching head pain after aerobic activity.

There are a few commonalities among those who suffer from headaches after working out. They include:

  • Dehydration
  • High blood pressure
  • Q: What Causes Headaches When Youre Working Out

    A: When you exert yourself, the muscles of the head, neck and scalp need more blood circulating. There is a an increase in blood volume in the blood vessels and this can lead to an exertional headache, or exercise-induced headache. If you often engage in strenuous, prolonged activity, youre more likely to get these headaches.

    It typically occurs at the peak of a high-impact activity, such as running, aerobics, swimming and tennis, says headache specialist MaryAnn Mays, MD.

    Lifting weights can also lead to weightlifters headache, she says.

    Other triggers for an exercise-induced headache include:

    • Dehydration

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    Because your blood sugar decreases during exercise, its important to have a source of energy while you work out, Gaz says.

    The;American Migraine Foundation recommends eating about 90 minutes before you exercise and suggests eating foods with protein, such as protein bars;and nuts, prior to exercise.

    If you get cramps, you may have eaten too close to your workout, Gaz notes. And, adds Kriegler, going too long without eating can also provoke a migraine.

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    If you’re wondering why you get headaches when you exercise, you’re not alone. According to Elizabeth Barchi, MD, expert in sports medicine from NYU Langone Health, while exercise can prevent headaches and migraines, it can cause them as well. POPSUGAR spoke to her and two other experts about why headaches may happen during exercise, how to treat them, and when to see a doctor.

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    What Do Brain Tumour Headaches Feel Like

    Headaches associated with brain tumours:

    • can be throbbing or a dull ache, depending on where they are in the brain
    • occur intermittently starting gradually, but fading over a few hours
    • tend to get worse over time
    • can resemble common migraine or tension-type headaches.

    Other types of headaches

    Other types of headaches include:

    • tension headaches

    For more information about these and other headache types, see the National Headache Foundationâs Complete Headache Chart.

    Why Do I Get Ocular Migraines

    Migraines are caused by cortical spreading depression, a medical term used to describe abnormal electrical activity in the brain that typically starts in the occipital lobe and spreads through the rest of the brain at a slow but steady pace. Ocular migraines may be caused by this same phenomenon that takes place in the retina of the eye.

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    What Are The Risk Factors Associated With Exercise

    Certain triggers can increase your risk of migraines, so it pays to be aware of them. Working out in extreme conditionsâlike very hot weather or at high altitudesâcan increase your likelihood of getting a migraine, while dehydration and bad fueling are also risk factors.

    Some experts believe those who already suffer from migraine headaches or have a close family member with a history of migraines are also at a higher risk for exercise-related headaches.

    Whats Going On Inside Your Brain

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    During an exercise-induced migraineand even during a workouttheres a ton of stuff going on inside your brain, says Thomas Pitts, a board-certified neurologist with Hudson Medical & Wellness in New York.;Exercise increases the stress hormone output, increases your blood pressure, your heart rate and your respiratory rateall of which can contribute to migraines. Especially, Pitts says, if youre exercising without eating first or if you arent hydrated. Exercise and the rapid augmentation of metabolism, gut speed, heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, stress hormone output, dehydration, and glucose consumption can induce a migraine state, and this pathway is referred to as exercise induced headaches, Pitts says. Its common, he says, for patients with headaches to notice that exercise worsens or even provokes them.;

    Fantastic. What makes this even worse is the studies on the topic are super limited. One study reports extensive information on the sports-triggered attacks and the patients experiencing these attacks is lacking. The study looked at migraine patients who were asked if exercise had ever triggered an attack. Apparently, 38 percent of those studied had exercise-triggered migraines, regardless of gender and regardless of migraine type.

    Neck pain as the initial migraine symptom was the most frequent symptom for those with these types of attacks, and more than half of those who had exercise-induced migraines abandoned the offending sport.;

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    Exercise Tips For Migraines And Headaches

    Do Yoga, Walk, or Swim to Ease Migraine and Headache Symptoms

    Although exercise can trigger migraines and/or headaches in some people, a regular exercise routine can actually help reduce the overall number of migraines and/or headaches you experience, as well as the frequency of your symptoms.

    As part of a comprehensive treatment plan for migraines and headaches, exercise can help you manage migraines and headaches safely and effectively. But what exercises are most beneficial for dealing with migraines and headaches? This article highlights the benefits of exercise as well as exercise tips for managing migraines and headaches.

    Fluorescent Light Can Cause Fatigue

    The harsh, unforgiving glare of fluorescent lighting is light scattering across your field of vision. This causes poor image quality. As a result, your retinas have to work harder to bring the image into focus. Since your retinas work harder to clarify the image, you will likely notice considerable strain on your eyes, particularly if the glare is compounded from working in front of a computer screen. In addition to contributing to fatigue-invoking glare, fluorescent lights are also shown to:

    • Contribute to;stress;and anxiety
    • Disrupt menstrual cycles

    Not everyone is sensitive to the effects of fluorescent lighting, but many people are. Even if you are not particularly vulnerable, its important to know that fluorescent lights can have a considerable impact on the health of your eyes and skin.

    Although fluorescent lights have a protective phosphorus coating to absorb UV radiation, this coating can breakdown with age. Research suggests UV exposure from fluorescent lights can increase your risk of eye disease as much as;12 percent. Indoor UV exposure can also;damage;skin cell DNA, contributing to premature skin aging and an increased risk of skin cancer.

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    How Can Exertion Headaches Be Prevented

    To prevent an exertion headache:

    • HYDRATE: Drink enough water that youre urine is clear or faintly yellow the day before your lift and the day of, and continue to drink water during your workout.; This will ensure that your blood can flow freely and smoothly through your blood vessels.
    • BREATHE: The valsalva maneuver is a valuable tool for creating stability in the thoracic cavity that can help prevent lower back injuries during maximal lifts.; It should not, however, be used during sets of multiple repetitions. When performing multiple repetitions, exhale during the positive phase and inhale during the negative phase.;You can find more detailed information on breathing techniques here.
    • NEUTRAL SPINE: Unless performing a neck exercise, there is no need for the neck to be bent. Maintaining a neutral spinal alignment allows for proper circulation through the arteries and veins responsible for moving blood in and out of the brain.; While looking up may mentally help keep the back straight during a squat or a deadlift, it is not essential.; Keep the head and neck in a neutral position.
    • CONDITIONING:; Developing a healthy heart and lungs that can handle high intensity training can be accomplished with regimented cardiovascular training.; General conditioning along with interval training can help reduce the risk of exertion headaches by developing an efficient and healthy cardiovascular system that can handle the stress.

    What Is An Exercise Headache

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    Its pretty much exactly what it sounds like, says Dr. Danan. Its a headache that comes on during or after high-intensity exercise. Youll feel these headaches throughout your entire head, unlike migraines which stick to one side. And unlike regular ol’ headaches, exercise headaches tend to throb. There are two types of exercise headaches: primary and secondary. Primary exercises headaches typically last anywhere between five minutes and 48 hours, while secondary can last a bit longer and are more severe.

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    Dehydration Is A Common Cause

    Overexertion and strenuous activity often cause the body to produce more sweat, causing dehydration. A common side effect of dehydration is the development of a headache, according to the National Headache Foundation.

    High altitude and exertion are also factors in causing exercise headaches because they can create an oxygen deficit in the blood and muscle tissues, which disrupts the pH balance of the blood, such as an excess of lactic acid.

    Read more:How Can I Tell When My Body Is Hydrated?

    Treatment Of Primary Exercise Headaches

    To treat a benign primary exercise headache, your doctor may prescribe blood pressure medications or indomethacin, an anti-inflammatory drug. He may advise you to take over-the-counter medications for pain, warm up before working out and avoid exercising in heat and high humidity. If you frequently experience exercise headaches, your doctor may prescribe medication to be taken before exercise to prevent the occurrence of headaches. Consult your doctor for tips and techniques to help ward off primary headaches.

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    How Can You Prevent Exercise Headaches

    If youre prone to exercise-induced headaches, Dr. Danan says that the best move, other than taking anti-inflammatory medications, is making sure you warm up and ease your way into the workout. This is especially helpful for when headaches are brought on by environmental elements outside your control.

    Some people think anti-inflammatory diets help, too, but this isnt guaranteed. Dr. Danan doesnt reject the idea altogether, and says if it works for you, go for it. Otherwise, drink water before you sweat, eat a balanced meal, load up on electrolytes, consider the humidity and heat before you work out outdoors, and scale back the intensity as needed.

    What Is The Difference Between Headache And Migraine

    Why Do I Get Headaches When Lift Weights?

    Migraine is a type of primary headache disorder, as is tension-type headache. The cause of neither is fully understood, but both appear to involve heightened sensitivity to stimuli, whether pain, in the case of tension headache, or environmental changes, in the case of migraine.

    While head pain is a symptom of both migraine and tension headache, migraine attacks are often accompanied by nausea and are made worse with routine physical activity, while tension-type headache is not.

    In addition, headaches caused by migraine typically occur on one side of the head, while tension headaches typically affect both sides.

    And migraine tends to have a pulsating or throbbing quality, while the pain of a tension-type headache is described as pressing or tightening.

    Having one type of primary headache disorder doesnt rule out having another. In fact, many people have both migraine and tension-type headache.

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    How To Treat It

    If you frequently get headaches after exercising and have any other unusual symptoms, its best to make an appointment with a doctor to rule out any underlying conditions that might need treatment.

    Otherwise, primary exercise headaches often stop happening on their own after a few months.

    In the meantime, taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen , can help. You can also try applying a heating pad to your head to open up the blood vessels. No heating pad? Heres how to make one at home.

    Treatment Options For Primary Exercise Headache

    Primary Exercise Headache is not dangerous. However, more serious causes of headache associated with exercise should be excluded.

    • A review by a neurologist is required and may include brain imaging.
    • Most patients with this headache syndrome find it gets better on its own within months or years.
    • These headaches can be managed without medications by either extending the warm-up before exercising or reducing the intensity of exercise.
    • If medications are required, you may be prescribed daily oral indomethacin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug;. In addition, you may also receive a prescription for a medicine to prevent abdominal discomfort and gastric ulcers, known as a proton pump inhibitor and includes medicines similar to omeprazole.

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    When To See A Doctor

    While getting a headache after exercising usually isnt anything to worry about, consider making an appointment with a doctor if they seem to start happening out of the blue.

    For example, if youve been doing the same exercise routine for months without any problems, but suddenly start getting headaches, see a doctor. There could be something else going on.

    Its also best to see a doctor if your headaches arent responding to any treatments, including over-the-counter medications.

    Don’t Turn Up The Heat

    Brain after Migraine

    People who experience these headaches say they usually feel a throbbing head pain when they ‘go hard’ , especially in hot weather or indoor environments that are warm. That’s why it’s a good idea to avoid exercising in extreme heat. Work out early in the morning before the temperature rises, or take your exercise regime to a facility with air conditioning.

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    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.

    Vigorous exercise might be a trigger in a small subset of people with migraine, but overall the benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risk for people with migraine, Dr. Bond says.

    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.

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    How Do You Know If Your Headache Is Benign Or More Serious

    While primary exertion headaches are frustrating, theyâre totally normal and nothing to seriously worry about. A second type of headache associated with physical activity called a secondary exertional headache, however, is a more serious issue, Dr. Bain warns.

    Secondary exertion headaches are typically indicative of a larger problem, like meningitis or a brain tumor, Dr. Bain explains. For example, exercise increases your blood pressure and heart rate, making a blood vessel rupture more likely if youâre already in a compromised health condition. In rare cases, exercise-related headaches can also be an unusual sign of heart artery blockages. While rare, these headaches require immediate medical attention.

    It can be tricky to differentiate between a primary exertion headache that is essentially innocuous and a secondary exertion headache that can be potentially life-threatening, so Dr. Bain broke down the symptoms of each.

    Primary exercise headaches often have a throbbing sensation, are felt on both sides of the head, occur during or after strenuous exercise, and generally, last anywhere from five minutes to 48 hours.

    Secondary exercise headaches can mimic symptoms of primary exercise-related headaches, but often include more drastic symptoms like nausea and vomiting, loss of consciousness, double vision, and severe neck stiffness. They can also last multiple daysâtipping you off that something might be seriously wrong.

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    What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Workouts Causing Migraines

    If you notice headaches consistently with one type of exercise, Dr. Bain recommends switching to another type of workout. For example, if youâve been exerting bursts of energy with a strenuous exercise regime, it might be time to try a low-impact workout, like swimming or yoga, or aerobic exercise like running or cycling.

    As you know, exercise boasts countless benefits that are essential to our well-being. Physical activity releases the bodyâs natural feel-good hormones , minimizes the frequency and intensity of pain, reduces stress, and in many cases, improves sleep.

    Itâs possible that one or two specific types of exercise are precipitating your headaches. So if you do experience exertion headaches, Dr. Bain encourages individuals to use trial-and-errorâand the guidance of a medical professional!âto find the workout that works for you.

    The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.


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