Get a Headache after Working Out?

You thought you were getting on the road to better health – but instead, you get a headache after working out.  The irony is that many people want to exercise so that they get fewer headaches or migraine attacks.  And suddenly it looks like the opposite!

Getting a headache after working out could have a variety of causes – some of them quite serious.  For example, it could signal a problem with the fluid in and around the brain.  Or, it could be a symptom of a problem with blood flow.

The first rule is:  If you have a headache after exercising, and it’s never happened before – see a doctor right away!  Or, if you’ve had headaches before, but this one is somehow different, get to a doctor right away.  It could be something serious, and if possible you should see a doctor the same day.

But what if it’s just common for you to get a headache after working out?

In fact, it might happen other times, not just after an actual workout.  There are other similar kinds of exertion headaches.  Maybe doing a certain task at work is causing a headache.  Or it could be a sex headache.  Or some other active job or recreation you do.

Exercise is so key for your health, you should not allow headaches or migraine attacks to keep you from it.  And yes, there are ways to treat exercise headache.

Are headaches making your workouts THIS depressing?
Are headaches making your workouts this depressing?

Stopping the after-workout headache

  • Be sure you’re hydrated.  Get enough to drink before, during and after your workout, and see if it makes a difference.
  • Sugar levels:  Make sure you’ve had a good meal before you exercise (that means eat breakfast first if you’re going to work out in the morning).  Some people find it helps to drink an energy drink during a workout, or to take a glucose tablet before starting.  Eating within an hour after your workout is also a good idea.
  • Take it slow:  Maybe you’re trying to do too much too fast.  Try gentler exercise for a while.  Or, take more time to warm up before getting into something intense.
  • Consider taking preventative medication and/or supplements for migraine.  If you have been diagnosed with migraine, consider this.  If you work out 3 times a week, and get a migraine attack every time, that’s 13 attacks a month.  No small problem!  Preventative medication for migraine has helped many people drastically cut down on their attacks.  Daily supplements such as magnesium may also make a big difference.
  • If the problem is more occasional, ask your doctor about taking something before you exercise, such as an anti-inflammatory like Advil (ibuprofen) or Indocin (indomethacin).  This isn’t safe for everyone, and isn’t a good option if you need to take it often.

Exercise is worth it – don’t give up!  Find a solution that works for you, and keep that new years resolution to get in better shape in 2009.  Don’t get stopped by a headache after working out.

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114 comments… add one

  • Vanessa Oct 14, 2009

    *!! Thank you so much….I thought I was going crazy because I couldnt figure out what was wrong with me. All I knew was that every time I worked out, I would get a headache. The worst ones were after doing situps. Thanks for this article I can finally say Im not the only one!!!

  • Karen Brewer Nov 16, 2009

    Me too.In fact it just happened yesterday. For me I think the connection is not warming up enough. I can feel myself getting all red in the face and I just know later Im going down for the count.Doent happen with yoga or anything like that,just intense aerobics.

  • James Dec 10, 2009

    You’re welcome! You certainly aren’t the only ones. It’s very common – but there are good solutions out there. Hope these have been a help!

    • Kilakila Jul 8, 2010

      EH James or the person who wrote this article what could be problems with having my first headache after a workout. I never had one before and i been liftin for a while i pushed my self hard on the squats for reps and then got it right after it. Still have it after 2 days it comes and goes. How can i cure it and is it serious.

      • James Jul 8, 2010

        Hi Kilakila,

        You need to see a doctor right away. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, but it could be.

  • Amy Dec 19, 2009

    I get headaches usually a few hours after I work out. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with a bad headache and sometimes nauseous. Anyone have the same?

  • Daniel Jan 6, 2010

    Like Karen Brewer mentioned, I get a headache nearly everytime I conduct a hard workout, normally a hard run. If I run at an easy pace, I usually do not get a headache. It is only from a strenuous workout. The symptoms are similar to sinus pain on one side, stretching down that side of my head and neck. Headache comes on about an hour after the workout. I am not entirely convinced these are migraines, but it will normally last for 12 – 24 hours and it seems nothing works to get rid of it. Anyone with ideas?

    • Sharon Dec 13, 2010

      Did you ever figure out the underlying cause or a way to avoid the headaches? I get the same type of headache after a hard run and they last for days (3+).

    • Ronel T May 31, 2011

      Hi,

      I read your message, and i suffer with exactly the same type of headache after each and every aerobic workout? I have tried numerous things…..the only tablet that relieves the headache is Maxalt Wafers, but they are so exspensive, i have been considering just to give up gym???? Are you still suffering from the headaches?

  • Sasha Jan 7, 2010

    I get headaches after working out. Especially when I do sit ups

  • Karen Brewer Jan 8, 2010

    Really great reply to my problem with lots of solutions.Many thanks

  • Jesse Trembley Jan 14, 2010

    I just got my headache today, Jan 14/10. Almost immediatly I got one after I did my shoulder routine; the pain is in my head and goes down to where my spinal cord should be. The first one this morning I felt nauseous too. Just after 10pm(now) it cam again, dont feel as sick, but it hurts, even now when I am typing this.
    I read the article on it, and I think im going to see the doctor tomorrow. Hope I didn’t blow any vesels or anything. I’ll post my diagnostics later.

  • Dana Jan 15, 2010

    I get these often. It seems like people just thinking I’m making up the pain, or the frequency, or trying to get out of working out. I’m so sad because I really love being active, but am almost petrified to sweat because I know this will happen. I have to plan my day accordingly, if I work out, I will be completely incapacitated afterward. Sometimes I think I’ll die the pain is so much, I can’t move, I’m dizzy, sometimes I vomit, I don’t want to talk, hear, see, or smell anything. Nothing makes it better except sleep.
    I used to get just a few when I was a kid, got worse through my teens, and are even worse now. It seems the onset is much faster, and it is honestly with any exercise I do that breaks a sweat. Getting overheated in any way, even if its hot outside gives me one too, or not eating. HOW CAN I MAKE IT STOP?

    Doctors just throw a prescription your way and tell you to lie down when it happens. But is that what life has to be like? Doesn’t make for a very enjoyable one. But I also feel like no one will listen, and I’m at my end’s wit. I spent today in bed from a migraine after working out, and now the whole day is gone. :( :( :( :( :( :(
    Sorry this post is long, but I’m hoping someone will read it who feels the same. Other symptoms sometimes include a stiff neck, and when I lay down after it’s started, on one of my sides, I usually don’t move for quite some time because I feel like moving will make me throw up. But when I eventually wake, still on the same side, the pain in my head on the side that is touching the pillow is gone. The exposed side of my head however, hurts just as much as before..Its a very odd lopsided feeling. I usually just turn over and try go back to sleep. After all is said and done, and I’m feeling better later, I’m always famished and eat a lot, tired, and neck feels stiff.
    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • Carin Jun 17, 2010

      I have severe headache after getting winded then doing anything where i get down on he ground…push ups, sit ups, or after sex if i was lying down…THEN when i get up, it hits m like a vice on the head….some things that i do are making sure i’m hydrated, then, i get up SOOOOO slowly….like it’ll take me 5 whole minutes to get my head from looking at the sky to vertical. but for you, it sounds like tension could be part of it…..if you have someone on hand who could massage your shoulders as the headache begins, or if you could get a weekly or monthly massage that might help. Also, blood pressure changes may have something to do with it……good luck – ifeel your pain!

    • crystal Aug 2, 2010

      hi dana i feel the same also i been trying to find a way to stop this, well i still having migraine but so hard that before because i used to vomit a lot, do you drink caffeine o have you been under stress too often , i know i sound like doctors recipe but for me it works in some way but of course i would to like to not having those headaches with stiif neck are hard, well i hope you can find away to feel you at your best :)

    • Amanda Aug 23, 2010

      My mom is a nurse and this happens to me as well. I also can’t lay down for too long or I start to get the same sick feeling. I can’t explain it I wouldn’t call it a headache but something in the back of my head toward my spine makes me sick. My mom suggested getting a scan of my head because there is this thing where your bone at the top of your skull is just a little too long and it causes this sort of thing. Apparently it’s more common than you think it’s some mutation I can’t remember what it’s called butthat’s what I think I have sounds like the same sort of thing you do. Hope this helps. Good luck!

  • Jodie Jan 16, 2010

    I have had migraines since November and its has been constant everyday it gets me upset my neck hurts too and i also get doses of bad nausea and it gets so depressing. Right no i am taking panolol and its gets rid of the headache pain. i also try and distract myself by reading a book or watching a good film when i have nausea

  • Kirin Jan 16, 2010

    Dana, try the mayoclinic.com website. It talks about primary and secondary exercise headaches and your symptoms sound like those of the secondary type. I, on the other hand, seem to have the symptoms of the primary type. I drink water but will try to drink more. These relatively mild headaches are a new development for me and they now occur consistently after strenuous exercise. A Tylenol usually does the trick, but I don’t like taking medicine if I don’t have to. However, I’m perimenopausal and “lots of funny things” are happening to my body at this time…

  • Sam Jan 19, 2010

    Whenever I workout my chest, a small pain builds up in the back of my head. It then feels like it blows up and the pain gets very intense in the back of my head, and it just stings very bad. This basically ends my workout, and prevents me from doing anything for a couple hours. It may just be my breathing, and the amount of oxygen getting to my brain, but I am not sure. But also the back of my neck (levator scapulae muscle) has been hurting and this could be the cause. I am only 16 so I’m not sure why this would be happening. Any suggestions?

  • Mark Jan 24, 2010

    I’ve been getting exercise headaches now for about 15 years– primary ones from the descriptions I’ve seen posted. They started in my 20’s after I played tennis or went running and have gradually been getting worse ever since. The hotter I get during exercise the worse the headache, which is usually throbbing in the front of my head on both sides. (If I run or play tennis in cold weather or go swimming, I don’t get much of a headache.) They usually begin about 2 hours after I’m finished and last up to 24 hours with the worst pain at about 12 hours. I used to think that it was dehydration, but drinking a lot of water didn’t make any difference and drinking too much actually seemed to make it a bit worse. Anyway, after much worrying and pain, I found an easy solution I wanted to share– SALT. I was really happy to find this solution since it’s about the cheapest thing you could think of!! After any exercise where I get really hot, I down a few cans of tomato juice or a can of chicken noodle soup since both of these have tons of salt. It prevents about 80-90% of the headache. I’m not a physiologist, but I read that exercise headaches might be caused by blood vessels dilating in the brain and presumably dumping extra liquid there which would build into a headache. I know that electrolytes like sodium and calcium regulate the flow of liquids across cell membranes. Maybe salt impedes the flow into the brain or causes the liquid to be retained elsewhere in the body? Anyway, I thought I would pass this information along since it worked for me. Of course, it might be a bad idea for somebody with high blood pressure or other salt sensitive medical condition or for somebody whose exercise headaches stem from a different cause.

    • Matt Jul 9, 2010

      The tomato juice has helped with my headaches. For me, there appears to be a balance between water, sodium, and caffeine (self induced). I recommend experimenting with the tomato juice. I have been downing it regularly after workouts for about a month and have not had a bad headache, only the beginnings. I have been able to successfully fight off each one, sometimes resorting to a couple of tylenol, but have not had one of the really bad headaches.

  • Sabrina Jan 31, 2010

    I recently started Zumba classes and I am useless after them because my head hurts so bad. I drink plently of water and eat meals before and after. I even concentrate on my breathing thinking that was the problem. I work out on a regular including cardio but do not get headaches.

  • Tim Feb 2, 2010

    I have had the post-run exertion headache problem for about 12 years now (now in my 40s). I have tried almost everything. Warming up doesn’t help; going slower helps, but then it’s not much of a workout. Running on cool days is better, but often I’ll get the headache on cool days too. For the last few years I have taken one advil or one tylenol 30 min before running, and that usually does the trick, but I don’t want to keep taking medications every day for the rest of my life. I tried the small can of tomato juice today about 2 hours after the run, and so far it seems to have reversed the headache that I felt coming on. So, maybe the trick is the SALT that was mentioned by Mark. There might be more to it than just salt, however, because I often eat salty snacks after the run, and that doesn’t seem to help. But the tomato juice did help – today anyway. And drinking too much water is not the way to go – it actually makes the headache much worse. So hydration is important, but getting the right amount of hydration can be tricky.

  • Terri Feb 3, 2010

    I have the same thing everyone above is describing. I know how discouraging it can be to want to exercise and then get that debilitating headache afterword!!! Once upon a time I was a cross country runner, and very fit. I am now 44 and these exercise headaches have been going on since about age 30. I ended up gaining weight because I couldn’t work out. I am now losing the weight, through diet and moderate exercise. I have finally come to the realization that I may not be able to get the runners high that I used to enjoy, but I can still walk, do the elliptical moderately, do pilates and yoga, and do weights at the gym as long as I’m careful NOT to OVERDO it. I can even jog about a mile and a half during temperate weather (not too hot), usually spring and fall is best, and winter if not too cold. If I go further than one and a half miles, or if I try to go too fast, I will get a headache.

    I read somewhere that vigorous exercise triggers insulin to rise, and I’m wondering if that is a factor. I have also gotten migraines from eating “bad”, (meaning too much sugar.) I have been reading a lot about the glycemic index of foods, and how to keep my insulin levels more steady, rather than spiking them on high glycemic foods. I’ve noticed that when I’m careful about the foods I eat, and stay away from or cut down on caffeine, sugar, and bread, and even dairy,I get a lot less headaches !!!

    I am still trying to figure all of this out. Doctors have been little if any help. Like someone said above, they just want to throw a prescription at you. I will admit, however, that when I do get a migraine, Imitrex works very well for me. I am thankful for the relief!!!! It’s also very expensive, however, so I don’t want to use it much.

    I read what someone wrote about salt after exercise, and I am going to try the tomato juice trick and see if it helps any. I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHY I GET THESE HEADACHES IN THE FIRST PLACE!! Terri

  • Lori Feb 17, 2010

    This sounds so much like what I’ve been experiencing lately. I ride horses and had a jump lesson on Sunday and Tuesday. After these rides, I ended up with a migraine. I took a vicodin and that stopped the headache, but I don’t want to get them in the first place. I don’t want to take a narcotic, but I can’t go through two days of being a blob, especially when the migraines are back to back. I’ve been drinking tons of water before hand, too. Maybe tomato juice is the answer to life??

  • Vicky Feb 20, 2010

    I always end up with a migraine after swimming or running or going to the gym. I’ve had to give up all of these things now although I would love to take part in them. I started topomax for my migraines in December which have decreased the frequency of my migraines but I have so little energy that I can only just about manage to go to work leave alone consider doing anything else!! If anyone knows wether the side effects of topomax get any better and wether I’ll ever be able to do exercise again I’d love to hear from them!!

    • yossi Apr 30, 2011

      if i may suggest you better try to look for the cause to your migraines before you addict yourself to any drag. i used to have very frequent migraines and the doctor suggested i take a pill. i preferred nit to. it took me a long while of trial and error until i realized that coffee has a strong impact on my migraines. it is already a year and a half that i don’t drink any coffee and my situation has dramatically improved. almost ni migraines, except for after intensive work outs. in the past i used to have it almost on a weekly basis and relatively – very strong. if i had taken the drag perscribed by the doctor, it would my situation even worse. it is not an easy task but it worth it. good luck.

  • Aurora Feb 21, 2010

    I don’t get an attack after exercise, I get it during the exercise and usually feel nauseous and throw up. I guess it is just the migraine already on its way and I am just aggravating it. My only exercise is walking my dog about an hour whenever I feel okay. It also happens whenever I have been to my physical therapist; after he has loosened up muscles and blood is flowing freely all over, I get an attack.

  • Lori Feb 22, 2010

    Ok, yesterday I had another jump lesson, and drank TONS of water before and during and after. NO migraine! Don’t know if there’s a link, but I’m going to keep trying. I would hate to have to stop doing something I love so much.

  • Kirin Feb 23, 2010

    I’ve recently started taking Emergen-C (1000 mg of Vitamin C) almost daily and it’s made a big difference in my energy level and I’m no longer getting headaches after strenuous exercise. It’s interesting because tomato/tomato juice also has lots of Vitamin C. I note however that my headaches were milder, of the throbbing type, not migraines.

  • Elizabeth Feb 25, 2010

    I ran a half-marathon 2 years ago and never had this problem. Then I had a baby. I get headaches after every run now! It usually comes on 2-3 hours after working out. I hate it! I have a half-marathon coming up and I want to run it so bad….. but we talking 4-5 workouts a week, which equals 4-5 bad headaches. I will try these tips. Hopefully something will work. You know my headaches improved after seeing a chiropractor, maybe I will try that again. Also, I head a news report on coconut water and how it rehydrates quicker than water and sports drinks… and its natural.

  • Eli Feb 26, 2010

    My first headache of the sort happened about an hour after a great run outdoors in cool weather – My nose started to ache, then my forehead, and then I vomited. It came on quickly and was gone by the morning. The next time I had a similar headache was while in Brazil. This headache was not specifically centered on nose, but also in general sinus region and lasted most of the week – I can only assume that change in air pressure had an affect. Then I had a headache that lasted over 10 days – again in the nose, sinus region, temples, but also skull, back of head, neck, shoulders….etc.
    Exercise seems to be a trusted trigger – now, light cardio and even yoga set it off. My doctor was adamant that my headaches do not suit migraine symptoms (though very prevalent in family) and that my sinuses were inflamed due to allergies. To my chagrin, allergist claimed me allergy-free (was hoping for easy diagnosis). While waiting for an allergist appointment, I was recommend to take a decongestant on a daily basis which I have continued to do. I do use ibuprofen regularly on top of that. I am desperate to know what is causing me headaches as I really want to get into shape again. What is this exercise and Brazil-induces headache that just won’t go away? Migraine? Sinus? Bone alignment? Allergy?

  • Sylvia Feb 27, 2010

    I’ve been getting these migraine headaches now for a couple years and I think it’s thyroid & hormone related. The headaches started after I started thyroid med’s (Armour “pig gland thyroid”). It must have to do with sustained high body temperature from intense workouts because the headache is cut back when I apply ice to my head and neck area, and vice versa “with heat the pain is more intense”. Even the nausea symptom subsides a little with the ice. I’ve also recently been given “Lpi-Gesic”-M a sublingual gel for Migraines (homeopathic) it IS working. However, I think the best remedy/medicine is that I cut back on the intensity of the workouts and avoid the headache in the first place.

    Good luck to you all.

  • John Mar 2, 2010

    I also been getting headaches for many years now. I recently stopped smoking using a e-cig and i can see a huge difference. Since i stopped smoking i really never get headaches anymore after working out. So if any of you are smokers out there maybe this is the issue.

  • Karen Mar 11, 2010

    I’m 25 years old and the past 2 years have been experiencing these exercise induced headaches. It’s typically after a run or a strenuous hike. I was an avid soccer player in high school and never experienced these before. It typically comes on 4-12 hours after I exercise and it is debilitating. I’ve tried taking ibuprofen before and after working out, all it does is prolong the inevitable. I found that Excedrin works the best. I also get headaches that are unrelated to exercise in the middle of the night or when I wake up in the morning.
    I know how you guys feel, it sucks!

  • Jill Mar 13, 2010

    It’s truly heartening to read that so many other people get headaches after intense exercise the same way I do. I didn’t realize it was so common. So first, thanks to everyone for sharing. I agree, I want to know what is causing it. For me, there seems to be a connection with overheating, as sometimes (but not always) I get the headaches when I get very hot too quickly, for example, in a spinning class. But also on very hot days, and no amount of cooling down or jumping in a swimming pool or taking a cold shower helps. I gave up on prescription drugs a long time ago, because then I have to deal with side effects in addition to the headache, as the drugs have only worked at best 25% of the time. I quit exercising a while back because I had returned to working every day (after being home with the kids) I knew I wouldn’t be able to deal with work and headaches. But of course I’ve gained ten pounds and clothes barely fit and so this past week I began working out again. The thing is, I enjoy exercising. It makes me feel so good and healthy (that is, until the headache comes). It is so frustrating to want to exercise and then to have to hold back because of the headache. I am a “type A” exerciser, I’ve been told. I love to push myself to the limit, because that is what feels good, and that is what gets the best results. But, as others have mentioned, as soon as I break a sweat, that’s it. It’s over, headache guaranteed 1-6 hours after the workout. This week it was different, which is why I am here now looking for answers. I had to stop 45 minutes in the middle of my pilates class because my head started pounding intensely. This happened twice this week. Never before have I gotten a headache in the middle of exercising. And I never used to get headaches with pilates!

    I have an appt with a headache specialist on Monday. I’m wary but desperate at this point because I want and need to exercise. I’ve tried the elliptical, and I’ve taken it easy to avoid the headache, but in the meantime I don’t feel like I’ve worked my muscles hard enough. It just felt like I was going through the motions and totally ineffective and a waste of time. I can’t do that.

    Thanks for “listening”… I’ll see what the dr says, and maybe I’ll try the tomato juice or the magnesium or salt. Lots of water didn’t help. Maybe gatorade will help? I don’t think it helped me in the past.

    • Dana Jul 3, 2010

      Hi Jill,

      Just curious, (if you want to share) what did the headache specialist say about your headaches? And did the tomato juice help for you?

      Dana

  • Rosa Mar 14, 2010

    SABRINA……I too have recently taken up Zumba classes and every time I take them I get Migraines! I thought it might just be me, but from what I read a lot of people get these Exertion Headaches. I have suffered from migraines for about 10 yrs or so….but there occurrence has subsided now that I don’t take any form of Estrogen/Progesterone both which I believe are huge in Birth Control Pills. I used to practice Bikram Yoga(hot yoga) and I had to stop because the pain was excruciating. I use to get the throbbing pain right after class and continue well into the night. I drank TONS of water and it would sometimes just result in vomiting!!!! I now practice Pilates and I am usually fine. I realized that I usually get the pounding migraine after strenuous exercise, but I am stubborn and I refuse to give up. I am now trying to tweak my diet and include Magnesium(which is said to help) and drink more electrolytes a long with eating more greens and less fermented food. I will also try the salt/tomato juice and see how that works! Thanks everyone for sharing your pain in the fight against evil migraines.

  • Greg Mar 20, 2010

    I started having headaches after exhausting workouts or soccer games since I was 20 (now I’m 47). I’m also A-type athlete (I’ll run or lift until there is no one else standing beside myself… :-)). Hot days make them more certain.
    They start 6-12hrs after exercise and last for 12-18hrs. Really bad. Panadeine Forte doesn’t work. Muscle relaxants sometimes work but then I can’t do much during the day. I drink 1.5-2.5l of water before and after so it doesn’t look like lack of hydration. Recently I started overloading on electrolytes (Staminade, Powerade, etc) – 1.5-2l before and after. It sometimes helps but no guarantee.
    I’ll try sodium in tomato juice – Mark’s idea.
    After 30 yrs I still do exercise 5-6 days/ week so I almost factored it into weekly routine but sometimes it is so strong it feels like chopping my head off would be the best solution… :-)

  • Steve Apr 5, 2010

    I had a really bad post-workout headache, leading me to this site, which led me to Mark’s suggestion of trying salt. The headache was so bad that I just put a teaspoon of salt into a cup of water, swished it around and drank it. Well, about 5 minutes later, the headache wasn’t totally gone but it had mostly subsided. Someone should be studying this, and then should give Mark credit for a new discovery. Thanks for sharing, everyone.

  • james Apr 6, 2010

    After playing soccer in the street with my son ,nothing over strenuous, another headache. I took an ibuprofen about a half hour ago and it´s almost gone but like the majority of you the headaches can last hours after a proper soccer match or any real exercise. I´m 36 now and the headaches have only started in the last couple of years and do occur in more intense heat. I will try the tomato juice !

    However, as i understand(correct me if i´m wrong) we require a balance between salt and water in our bodies .Some of you have commented on having drunk a lot of water after exercise which has not helped and even made it worse while steve and has spoon of salt with a glass of water has helped.It seems there must be a relationship there.We are all geting on now and warming up the muscles(also mentioned) is a must too before exercise as we are no spring chickens!!

    Anyway,tomorow i´m playing soccer and i´ll try Mark´s tomatoe juice and Steve’s salt combination too.Hopefully the ibuprofen stays in its little box this time.
    Thanks for your advice everyone.Like others i thought it was just me.

  • Greg Apr 6, 2010

    Tomato juice worked for me at least twice. Last night I had fast indoor soccer game and later I could see all the symptoms of headache coming up as hundreds of times before. I had 3/4 glasses of tomato juice every hour at night – three in total (one glass is about 400mg sodium so about 1.2g total) and no headache at night. Actually, every time I drunk a glass within few minutes I felt like wave of relaxation going through (like a balance got restored).

  • matt Apr 10, 2010

    Hi, 5 days ago I was excercising and when i reached my last pushup a excrutiating pain went up the left side of my brain. It’s has happened everyday since. The initial pain is so intense I cannot do anything, after 5 minutes the pain goes down and lasts up to 3 hours. I’m very healthy, but I’m scared for myself…what if I have a tumor or something.

  • Greg Apr 11, 2010

    Matt,
    The proper advice is to see your doctor. But I had something similar over a month ago (didn’t go to see a doctor … :-)). Pushups were the worst. Last few reps i thought my head would explode. Similarly with bar pull-ups. Biceps wasn’t so bad. On one occasion I had to stop workout and not continue. It lasted 2-3 weeks. I suspect some stomach bug and some electrolyte imbalance. Drinking Staminade and tomato juice helped me quite a bit.

  • Chris Apr 26, 2010

    I recently started walking. I found that later in the day or the very next morning that I had neck pain, joint pain, and a headache. I’ve learned a many different things about that today, mainly that it’s not that uncommon. The other day during my walk I elected to take a Whey Protien mixture instead of plain water. Water certainly tastes better, but

    I found that the Whey Protien actually made me feel an almost instant refreshment. As I recall, I also did not have a headache the next day.
    While it does not have any Vitamin C, it does have Sodium (Salt). It also contains some sugar which may also be related to the insulin spike mentioned earlier.

    I’m going to be taking a water bottle of Whey Protien with me for each work out. I’m certain in helped, but surely it wouldn’t hurt to also have some tomato juice when I’m done.

  • Melissa May 3, 2010

    Every time i exercise I am getting a migraine!!! Like ER type!! Does anyone have any advice?

  • Miranda May 4, 2010

    I feel better knowing that I’m not alone in getting these headaches. There’s nothing more frustrating than going for a run (in my case 10km this past weekend)- feeling fantastic after & then a couple of hours later suffering from a debilitating migraine & vomiting. I’ve tried eating before & during the runs. I’ve also tried sports drinks and making sure I’m adequately hydrated- none of these things seem to matter. The only thing that has helped me is taking advil before running, which I don’t think is a great idea to become dependent on. I will try the tomato juice idea after my long run this coming weekend. Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Karen May 4, 2010

    I posted a few months ago about my exercise enduced headaches. I changed my birth control pill to an estrogen-free one, so it’s just progesterone. It worked! it was a miracle and I suggest if any of you women out there are on yaz (which I was) or any other pill, just switching, it wouldn’t hurt.

  • Jay May 30, 2010

    (Male-32yrs-6’2″-200lbs) I recently quit smoking (about a week ago….so although it could be related to nicotine withdrawals…its def not any meds…I don’t take any) and I also started a beginner cardio and weight training regiment. Every time I go running, workout or have sex (orgasm); I get intense headaches. They hit full power in about 10-15 secs and then it takes about 5 mins for the pain to let up. Any suggestions?…..Anyone else?

  • jack Jun 1, 2010

    Hello everyone,
    I do have migraines as far as I know myself. I remember in the middle school I used to feel really tired after playing soccer and used to have weird pain down in my spinal cord to the bottom. I never cared, but it got worse and worse. I got them after I had sex, after a long day on the beach under sun, ans sometimes when I felt really uncomfortable. Now I am 30 years old and I started feeling weird after soccer games, still after sex, and lack of sleep etc.

    My symptoms are the closest to Dana’s. Usually two hours after intense physical activity I started feeling something is not right. Actually my muscles are becoming stiff, my posture kind of changing. I cannot even stand still. My breath changes and I know headache is on its way. Now when it comes, it comes with episodes. Suddenly my body temperatures rises and my breath gets quicker and it goes like that for a few minutes and then it goes away. Then it comes back 10 minutes later and goes away again. It’s almost like a torture, because after each episode I feel like I have been hit by a truck. Sometimes if it comes really intense, I get one second of blackouts, most of the time results in vomiting. My body feels just too tense at that point. Actually last time, I injured my back while throwing up and it has been 3 weeks and my back still hurts. To be honest with all of you, if it weren’t my mom, I considered killing my self or just going away forever. This thing affects my everyday life, and punishes me every time I think I am doing a good thing. I want to have a simple life. I want to work out, have a proper relationship with a girl but this is taking everything away from me. I started yoga last week since everyone have been recommending me doing that, and I went to session at 10am. (Normally I cannot do morning workouts because headache comes afterwards and ruin my day) I was feeling great after yoga but 2 hours later I started feeling it was coming and had to leave work early. I am not sure if it’s an headache. I feel really weird when this thing comes. Definitely become very sensitive to light, I start to hear sounds of the environment around me in cutoffs. I feel something is wrong in my body. I had MRIs a few times, I also had physical activity tests, EKG. I also tried anti-depressants. Nothing really cut me and I hated taking pills. I really don’t need a solution. I just want to know what’s changing in my body/head when this thing comes. I know if I can figure that out I am going to be 50% better.

    Thanks for listening.

  • Ashlea Jun 2, 2010

    I don’t feel like I’m crazy now! I have been getting really bad headaches after my workouts for so long. For a while I stopped working out because I would be in such pain for the rest of the day that I could barley take care of my three young children. I thought it might have been from getting too hot, so I tried giving walking/running a chance and havent had any problems, even when I get really warm. I started doing the cardio/strength training and again with the headaches. I think that mine may be from causing tension in my shoulders/neck/head. I noticed that I got an odd sensation during push-ups, planks and other workouts that cause tightening of the neck and head. I dont take anything for them since I am still nursing my youngest, so no help after strength training yet. If anyone has any ideas for how to help this that would be much appreciated. I’m going to give the tomatoe juice a try, I figure it cant hurt, only help, right? Thanks so much. Hopefully we all can figure out a cure/prevention so we can lead happy, healthy lifes.

  • Jojo Jun 8, 2010

    I finally notice the reason why I have headache, I have Cystic Fibrosis but no problem for the moment to my lung only my sinus. I have chronic sinus problem. I had 4 surgery waiting for 5. But my problem is also when I exercise I get really red in the face & hot and than I can have headache for 2 days! It is because my body loose salt and get dehydrate very fast. From now on (I didn’t try them yet) I just got them Salt tablet from my doctor. I will try them and post the information if it’s better. I have to take them before exercise and drink alot of water & Gatorade low sugar G2.

  • mel Jun 20, 2010

    It was such a relief to find out your not alone! I have had exercise induced migraine for 28 years now. My migraine comes on 2 hours after exercise and usually puts me in bed throwing up for up to 2 days. I was a 400m as teenager and in my 20’s and problems in training and racing. I am determined not to give up exercise as it has always ben part of my life. I now try to split my exercise into 2 small blocks and swim for about 20 minutes in the morning and 30 mins light exercise in the evening. Recently I can not do any thing again without a headache. I was put on bisoprolol fumerate a beta blocker to see if it would help and it just seems to be worse. I have tried so many things over th eyear s. It is just so frustrating to keeep fighting against this.I’ll try the tmato juice. (holding my nose!)

  • Greg Jun 21, 2010

    BTW: I just watched program on Kokoda trekking. They showed brain getting swollen because of lack of sodium and too much water.
    http://www.adventuremedicine.net/png/preparation/112-hyponatraemia-in-kokoda-evaluatio

  • Liza Jun 21, 2010

    I wrote about my exercise induced headaches, that eventually became chronic, about 6 months ago. I am glad to say that they have gotten much better and in the past few months.

    My recommendations is to persistently look into all options before accepting chronic headaches.

    The following is my experience:
    As pain in sinus area, my doctor prescribed me to nose rinses and cortisone sprays as well as a referral for an ultrasound of my sinuses. My sinuses did show swelling. Further referred allergist could not detect food or environmental allergy that would instigate sinus swelling. I was recommenced to take decongestants everyday, which I did for a few months (and I felt they helped). I was referred for a CT scan on brain and of sinuses as well as appointment with ENT doctor. The scan results showed no need for concern.

    I chose to try every possible path to health one method at a time until headache issue cleared.

    I had my eyes tested. I had my teeth assessed. I gave up a wide list of trigger foods, including tannins. I stopped exercise. The HA were not getting better. They were especially triggered by fragrances. Tylenol or ibuprofen did not help and I later found out were probably causing rebound headaches.

    As doctor could not help, I went to an naturopath that was recommenced to me (5 yr post grad study in Canada). She had a much better knowledge on headaches than my GP. She requested blood and urine tests and a detailed chart of my daily routine, types of headache, other health, food eaten, weather, menstrual cycle…etc before any conclusions about the cause of my headaches. She told me not to cut out all trigger foods because the list is too broad but to cut out the main HA trigger foods out of my diet; caffein, chocolate, alcohol, old cheese. She suggested certain supplements that could be helpful to me (Magnesium and B6 in high quantities as well as other vitamins I was lacking; B12 and Omega). As headaches became less frequent, my naturopath encouraged that I continue taking supplements vitamin, diet and stretching and advised that physiotherapy, massage and acupuncture can also be helpful additional therapies. (Additional recommendation received elsewhere: osteopath and chiropractor)

    Once my headaches had virtually disappeared for a month, I attempted a short run. To my chagrin the exercise that instigated headaches in the first place was still an issue.

    Circumstantially, I was assessed by a chiropractor last week. After seeing an X-Ray of my spine and neck, he assessed that my neck vertebrae was straight and did not curved in a way that allow my scull to balance and bounce with movement. Direct Impact to the skull from a straight neck would cause swelling, muscle tension, pressure, and headaches.

    In my case, I believe the headaches are due to a mix of several triggers. I will keep taking the supplements while looking further into the neck issue. Hopefully I will be able to do impact sports again but in the meantime, I will attempt to enjoy swimming.

    I really recommend persistently looking into all options before accepting chronic headaches. There is an answer to your pain.

  • Adrienne Casey Jun 21, 2010

    The solution to my workout headaches is one you won’t like. Back off. Increase your level of exertion very slowly. Don’t work out until you are overheated and sweating profusely. Over time you will be able to do as heavy a routine as you want to do, but you have to increase slowly and you’ll feel like a wimp. That is the only thing that has worked for me. Every time I quit exercising for awhile, I have to learn that lesson all over again. (Also watch your blood sugar and hydration)

  • Kristen Jul 19, 2010

    Unfortunately, certain workouts trigger migraines for me, too. I had to give up my favorite workout — Zumba — because it gives me an immediate shoulder/neckache followed shortly by a migraine. I think it’s a combination of the loud music and the intensity of the movement that does it. I have started to do yoga daily, which is much kinder to my body and so far hasn’t triggered a migraine (though I really, really miss Zumba!).

  • Eduardo Jul 25, 2010

    If you get a headache after excercise, then why not do the simple thing. STOP EXCERISING. Its not Rocket-Surgery.

  • El Nino Jul 25, 2010

    READ THIS
    I used to get headaches after playing football (soccer, my American friends). I realised that I never had these in past years when I would constantly train throughout the week before playing a full match. This year, Ive put my body under immense pressure by going straight into long and gruelling matches. Therefore, try working-out in increasing frequency and difficulty until you reach the level you were getting the headaches at (try understanding that!) . I always drank lots of water but still had headches, so fluid levels were not the issue (for me). I never really used to warm-up even when I didnt have headaches, so warming up wasn’t the issue either. (I’m too good for warm-ups)
    TRY THESE…Tomato Juice (yes it exists!) seems to work for some people due to the nutrients and vitamins it contains. Having a sports energy-drink available to drink DURING your work-out also helps.

    P.S. Unfortunately, I wrote the comment above this one…sorry!

  • Victor Sep 21, 2010

    Hello everybody, I have come to this webpage to find anwers just like you all. I have been working out for about 3 months now about 5 days a week and 2 days ago i finished my workout and starting getting auras in my vision ( like a little light in the corner of my left eye ) and after about 15 minutes it goes away and it’s followed by a headache or migrane. All i know is that my head hurts but they’re not really really bad they’re just painful. But I figured its normal sometimes to get a headache now and then after an intense work out. Could be muscle exsaution or my body not hydrated enough, but the next day the same thing, now I’m worried so tomorrow I am going to the hospital to check this out. I hope it isn’t anything serious, and I hope all of you find a solution for your problems as well.

  • keshav Sep 27, 2010

    just keep drinking lots of water again and again,(and of course pissing), Thats how i get rid of it :)

  • Chris Jan 1, 2011

    I find that either a very hard, relatively short-duration effort (e.g., a bicycle time trial of 30-60 minutes) or a prolonged hard effort (e.g., a hard ride of three or more hours duration) will often trigger a migraine, but if I don’t let the migraines keep me away from hard efforts, then eventually, my body’s capacity for work improves and efforts that used to be able to trigger migraines no longer can (though continuing to push harder and harder will still get me there).

    I don’t think dehydration is the issue in my case–I drink a lot during workouts, and I fuel consistently before, during, and after. I think it’s just a response to physical stress that is outside what the body is used to. As you push back that boundary, it becomes harder to approach (that’s the good news–the bad news is that you have to suffer a bit to get there).

  • Arya Feb 20, 2011

    Wow – this was a relieft to read – I thought I was the only one. I have found like Chris that if my body gets used to the workout that over time my migraines will disapate and go away. I started working out with a persoal trainer this summer and this has not been the case however. What we have figured out is that this is because a trainer’s job is to “change it up” constantly and never get your body used to anything – that’s the whole point so that your body is constantly surprised – I have gotten a migraine every single time I have gone in…this has not gone well for me.

  • Arya Feb 20, 2011

    Hi Everyone –

    This was super helpful. I also get migrianes after working out like you all – and was told my neurologist to just keep working out (running) – I found that the migraines did go away (when I tried this years ago).

    However when I started working out with a personal trainer this summer, this method didn’t work. What I realized is that this is because the job of a personal trainer is the “change up your routine”…I will try the tomato juice method…thanks for sharing – it was really helpful to know I was not alone…

  • Tom Mar 4, 2011

    Hello everyone. My experience is one when i strain my back and neck muscles in a work out like doing biceps or pull ups hell even during a heavy walk pushing my son in his stroller where im leaning over to push and grab the handle the tension from this probably 3 or 4 hours after the workout .I start feeling off i don’t quite want to call it a headache .It feels like i cant concentrate correctly, I feel pulses that run into the back of my head, and when this is occurring i notice that my ability to just relax is taken from me. Its like i cant just sit and focus.The only thing ive found that helps is take a hot bath in a dark room and sleep this can last for days after a work out.I tried taking xanax when this occurs which actually helps quite a bit but i do not want to resort to drugs.I think it must relax the muscles . Ive had Mri’s of my Spine, my Head, they checked blood flow of the brain ,I went to a doctor ordered med x training facility to strengthen my neck, No answers its crazy to think about. I have had this happening since my 20’s and Im now 37 its gotten to the point in the past ,where i did not want to accept that the work outs were causing it because i felt fine after the work out initially that i would push harder and harder and got so bad that i forgot how to drive a car. Having it happen long enough theres definetely is a direct correlation of it from excersice Reading the comment of over hydration sounds interesting trying the tomato juice i will def give that a try.But if anybody’s had anything similar and can shed any light on this it would be incredible.With as many doctors as ive seen about it,I starting to think it hopeless

    • Mike Mar 18, 2012

      Tom, have you checked into massage therapy? Dont know much about it but my massage therapist was telling me that a lot of headaches in athletes are due to physical strains put on the neck and trapezius muscles. The topic came up because she was shocked that I dont suffer from headaches since my neck and traps are really tight and require a lot of work. Hope that helps.

    • Keith May 16, 2012

      Tom,

      I had similar problems, after a workout at the Gym I would end up feeling ill, hard to concentrate etc. For me it was also setting of my retinal migraine (aura only in one eye) and I would feel very ill the next day. I also had MRI etc and all ok. I also had this problem since my 20`s and have been to physio, chiro etc and no joy.

      So the good news is, I am now on a small amount of amytriptilan which is controlling the Retinal migraine better and have now been going to a Strength & Conditioning couch for a good year. What I have learnt is, that it is not the exercise that is causing the problem, but HOW you do the exercise. Like ensuring that your posture is good, that you shoulder blades are set in place before every exercise and that your core & upper back is strengthened. If I concentrate on good form, then I can exercise :-)

      I have also set my computer desk up ergonomically at work, which also helps.

      Yes I still have problems, but at least I have taken control and can continue exercising (I am now even rock climbing again).

      What you describe certainly sounds like it is your posture that is causing the problems. If you are like me, your posture most prob looks ok, but for me I have to have my posture perfect!!! My mother has the same type of problems, and also suffers from migraines (perhaps the migraines somehow make us more supsetable to these pains).

      Hope this helps

    • Jackson Nov 10, 2012

      Yeah man thats called fatigue man when you exercice too much or dont get enough sleep so all you gotto do is keep hydrated dont o verexercise and get enough sleep, if the baby is still in a pram just ask your wife to push it for a little while say you need a break man

  • Dana Mar 10, 2011

    I check in here every once and a while to see the new comments posted since I posted over a year ago. I’m still getting the headaches, and tried tomato juice, but maybe i don’t drink enough of it. The only difference now, over a year later is I’ve started getting headaches after WAKING UP, when sleep was the only thing that cured them before. If I have a bad sleep, or don’t sleep in the just right position, (I’ve gone through 8 different pillows looking for the right one) I wake up with a headache.

    I noticed people were mentioning their allergies here too…I’ve had chronic allergies since I was a child. It’s rare even a single day goes by I’m not congested…this is related to the headaches somehow??? Sometimes there’s sinus pain, but not all the time. As a child the pain was at my temples, but now its at the back/base of skull, up and around to my temples.

    Finding the right diet is also difficult because if I don’t get enough sugars, (ex, I tried one day of all vegetables, and I myself become a vegetable because of migraine) or just not eating always give me one.

    I hate trying to explain these to people. It causes doubt in my employers when I have to call in sick, family let down various time, and even fights with my significant other, because I simply cannot function.

    • Dana Mar 10, 2011

      Oh…and the last time I worked out my neck was aching, and I turned a ghastly white/greenish. Headache ensued as usual.

      • Robert Mar 28, 2012

        One possibility to explain all these headaches that I’ve been looking into is mild hypothyroidism or some other metabolic dysfunction like that. That might explain morning headaches as well as headaches after exercise, and low tolerance for exercise in general. It comes with a grab bag of other vague symptoms too. You might also get yourself checked for anaemia.

    • Andras Kadinger Nov 5, 2011

      Dana,

      Get yourself checked for Sleep Apnea if you wake up with a headache!

  • teo Mar 10, 2011

    Hey Dana,

    Well it’s life. I have learned to cope with my headaches. I have changed my workout routine. Now I am only doing exercises between 30-45 minutes. I am not pushing too hard because it bring headaches. So it’s really trial and error and learn what’s good for you. I realized I was trying to become normal before like “other people” you know. But in the end I came to this enlightenment where I am just I am and everyone has a different “normal” The important part is learning your normals and adjusting your life around these. I have learned this after having 15 years of really treating myself pretty harsh. I am 31 now.

    I hope you the best.

  • Holly May 1, 2011

    Hi,
    The first part of this comment is for Dana: I often wake up with headaches/migraines as well. I was recently put on a nasal spray called astepro which prevented/eliminated about 75% of the migraines I wake up with. it was a huge relief to find something that worked. I think some of my predisposition to headaches was sinus/allergy related as well.
    I recently started training to run a 5k and I’ve started getting headaches after my workouts. a fellow runner keeps telling me it’s dehydration but even when I think I’m hydrated enough, I still continue to get the headaches. I’m hoping that in time they will eventually go away once my body gets used to the exertion.
    Thanks for all the tips and suggestions.

    • Dana Jun 16, 2011

      Maybe I’ll ask my doctor about that. I’m wary of prescription drugs after having an allergic reaction to Immitrex when I was 16.

      I also agree with Teo saying everyone’s ‘normal’ is different. I don’t really want drugs to fix me, (it always seems like the potential side effects make you worse off!), but maybe finally understanding the combination of sugar and salt levels as well as hormones or whatever else could possibly be going on inside will help with forging a plan that will work! It sounds like this is a pretty common problem, maybe we’re all on the wrong diet or something ridiculous. Thought I don’t find merit to triggers of chocolate, citrus, or cheese, maybe for some people, but I don’t have problems with those things.

  • Jeff May 10, 2011

    I too suffer from serious headaches after workouts having one now..going to try salt n tomato juice will keep u posted

  • Jeff May 10, 2011

    Ok so when I got home I tried a spoon full of salt…and what do u know..it was almost immediate relief!…ive been dealing with headachs for a few yrs now…had a mri, been prescribed meds…blood pressure is good…and what worked..salt incredible..i need to look into salt tabs, we took them in highschool n college before practice and games..guess the coaches were on to somthing?..either way im very thankful to have stumbled across this board..ill keep u posted on how the salt tabs work

  • Jay May 31, 2011

    I have this problem from cycling. I ride a road bike 20 to 100 miles at a time. When I was in really good shape, I would mostly only get a migraine a few hours after a really long ride or from a really hot day, say 97 degrees and high humidity. But I’ve ridden less over the last few years and trying to get back into it. Now it is almost a guarantee that if I ride, I’ll pay dearly starting within a couple hours after exercise (like right now). I’ve previously decided that hydration is THE issue. Reading all your comments is reassuring. Immitrex stops the headaches, but causes chest pain because of a known heart condition that I have (myocardial bridging). And NSAIDS aren’t appealing — I’m trying to cease all use of those. Was on beta blocker for years because of the heart issue, and that definitely helps overall with the migraines, but sorry charley, I’m not going to spend the rest of my life as a hopelessly tired zombie couch potato.

    So when I say that I think hydration is the issue, I mean the balance of hydration (water + electrolytes). I sweat like a hog so I’m sure I lose too much salt. The thought of tomato juice is repulsive to me, though. I think you could use canned soups to get the same effect. I know that drinking gatorade and powerade zero during workouts instead of pure water helps. Lots of straight water definitely makes it 5 times worse for me. I’m going to experiment with salt to see what I can come up with. I tend to crave salty popcorn and soups after workouts, but maybe I’m still not getting enough. I’ve never been much of a food salter in general. My BP is OK, so I’m not worried about that. Oh, and coffee after an intense workout is absolutely bad in my case.

  • Dana Jun 16, 2011

    Does anyone else get them just from overheating on a hot day?

    I recently started working out outside on cooler days with a breeze and actually made it through with no sign of headache. Today I went to the beach and laid there, (no exertion) and came home with a splitting headache and nausea. I’ve heard people refer to it as sunstroke, but it’s definitely a migraine for me.

    How is the salt/tomato juice working for everyone else?

  • rmital Jul 1, 2011

    I usually worked out at lunch time and the headache would show up after an hour or two of finishing my workout. Any drink with caffeine( tea,coffee, soda) would exacerbate the headache. I switched to a late evening workout( after 8pm) and now I am in bed by the time the headache starts to come.

  • islandgirl Jul 16, 2011

    I am so happy to have stumbled upon this website–I have suffered from migraines since I was a child and have been able to manage most of them through lifestyle modification, with the exception of the ones I get about 2 hours after working out and the ones I get after being out in the sun/heat! Woe is me if I am doing something like running, cycling, playing volleyball or golf in the sun–3 day headache with nausea and vomiting. It has been very difficult to find a physician (and I am one) who has been able to help, without being thrown on numerous mind-slowing medications. I have tried accupuncture, biofeedback, meditation, supplements, botox and none help with the exercise and heat headaches.

    I am anxious to try the salt/tomato juice (ick, will substitute V8), since I have just taken a 3rd dose of Imitrex after this morning’s workout.

    • Dana Aug 21, 2011

      That’s EXACTLY my story too. You’re a physician?

    • MommaBeeTX May 23, 2015

      SAME SAME SAME – worst is as a part time 2nd job I teach Zumba and here in Texas as summer comes on I am frustrated to skip the most fun outdoor events because every time I will miss the night and next day because of medication. Recently in ER at midnight after 1st dose of a proton pump inhibitor for ulcer, FRUSTRATED.

  • Matt Jul 27, 2011

    I know all headaches are not equal, but would like to share a couple of things that have helped me recently. I was prescribed Maxalt-MLT 10mg which is in the imitrex family. After a hard run in heat/humidy, no matter how much water I drink, I normally start to develop a headache in the forehead right between the eyes, like a pinching feeling. When I know it is coming, I can usually stop it by taking one dose. I have been able to avoid headaches lately by wearing a breathing strip over my nose each night while I sleep. My headaches seem to be triggered by a restriction of air through the nose. If you have similar issues, it is worth a try. I am planning on running with a breathing strip on my nose to see if that helps with the workout headaches.

  • Robert Oct 15, 2011

    After having Chronic headaches after exsertion I began to miss alot of work because it became everything I did exerting myself was disabling. So I seeked ER medical attention and they ran a CT Scan which came back normal and was sent home. Well the headaches where still so bad to the point doing little things was to much. So finally a specialist that was trying to figure out what was wrong lead me back into the ER and he said run an MRI stat. Well they found undiagnosed hypertension lessons in the gray matter surrounding my Brian that needed further testing. To figure out if I had a disease that was causing these lessons I had to get a spinal tap… Which was so painful and came back negative for any MS or disease and also the spinal tap caused me more headaches I had to get 4 blood patches because spinal fluid was leaking and caused a never ending migraine but with rest it patched up okay I believed anyway but I seemed worse after that. But he just kept treating me for headaches and migraines with imotrex, amerge, and so forth… After Two years of it I seen another doctor he said lets give you some oxygen let’s see what happens.. My headache was gone in 15 to 20 min a relief I long to feel. My doctor said the pain I was feeling targeting one side of my face , behind my eye, neck, was called a cluster headache very rare… They could last for weeks, months disappear and come back again. So as result I became disabled the constant pain with them with oxygen 2 times a day for thirty minutes seemed to be the only answer. I still get the headaches the doctors say that the more you suffer migraines and headaches the more likely you will be causing tissue damage and reach to a point of seizure ‘s and if not treated a stroke. So not only to I need preventing med like verapamil a calcium blocker to constrict blood flow, I also have to take my oxygen, and with the on going headaches they have affected my right side motor skills , a migraine or cluster headache can mimic a stroke and cause motor skill problems as it has happend to me. The doctors today still don’t understand what’s wrong… They just continue to treat me. I know this is alot to take in… But take your constant exsertion headaches seriously. I used to be a physical trainer, 175 pounds, ate healthy, no smoke, and the doctor says you know sometimes we just break and they consider me the mystery case… So I would def talk to your doctors about cluster headaches and oxygen as a un harmful treatment that you can use in the privacy of your home when you really need fast relief..many doctors don’t offer this as a treatment but I have a great doctor who continues to search for those answers for me….

  • Susan Nov 17, 2011

    My 17 year old son suffers from migraines & has sinusitus & mild asthma. Whenever he exerts himself physically, he often gets migraine/ headache/ nausea. He’s had a stress test at cardiologist- all normal. He’s gets annual MRIs which are all normal too (He has a non active / not growing benign glioma in his right thalmus- which headaches are not a symptom) (That was found incidentally because of his migraines)
    We found that dehydration was definitely a contributing factor to his headaches & he drinks 2 gallons of water during intense workouts. He plays Varsity basketball for his high school. I’d like him to be checked out by a specialist but don’t know what type of doctor to go to for this, pulmonologist? exercise physiologist? His pediatrician is not too concerned but I feel there’s a larger issue here. Any suggestions?

    • Chris Nov 17, 2011

      Drinking that much straight water during or after a workout is Not Good. One also needs electrolyte replacement, lest one suffer hyponatremia, which can cause the brain to swell (and can be fatal!).

      I’d suggest your son’s liquid replacement include a sports drink (such as Gatorade) as at least every other drink consumed. For example, while bicycling, I drink several swallows’ worth of liquid every fifteen minutes, alternating between my Gatorade bottle and my water bottle.

  • Marnie Nov 26, 2011

    Thanks for sharing everyone – I had success preventing headaches by preventing overheating – I did this by tying a cold wet towel around my neck while I worked out – it prevented my head from overheating by cooling down the blood in the arteries in my neck. Reading through these posts I’m also in the future going to add a little salt to my water bottle. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah Nov 27, 2011

    I’ve suffered from migraines ever since the birth of my last child in 2007. They used to be just once a month with my menstrual cycle, but this past March 2011 they ramped up to twice a week and sometimes I was just in a constant state of migraine. Internist and Neurologist said genetics, hormones, and weather are the cause and treated me with Topamax, Amitryptaline, muscle relaxers and my best friend in the whole wide world…Imitrex. Well, after 4 months I had to get off the Topamax because of a bad reaction (more like DOPE-a-max), but I’m still on all the other drugs. Tried chiro, massage, diet modification, OTC’s, etc. to no avail. Every time I work out I get a migraine, in fact its not just working out – its every time my heart rate gets above a certain level. Hot weather, even if I’m completely inactive, does me in as well. I believe it has something to do with my body working to regulate its temperature. Now that I can think again since I got off the Topamax, I decided to tackle research again. I’m currently looking into transdermal magnesium as a supplement (b/c the mg tablets gave me bowel problems) and continuing with my chiro treatments and meds. One of the doctors suggested a saliva hormone test – that will probably be completed within the next month or so and then we’ll see exactly how jacked up those levels are. :)

  • Zack Dec 29, 2011

    I always get headache after workout for about an one hour time but the headache I will get in few hours later and No success to prevented it any suggestion also don’t know if hormones plays any roll here Cause almost daily is my sex relief Perform ,

  • Ed Jan 25, 2012

    One thing to think about is constipation. I never used to get headaches no matter how physical I was (except when I first started being physically active).

    3 weeks ago I quit caffeine (so this includes chocolate) – I only had 1 pepsi a day but also ate the odd bit of chocolate. I kinda almost got a headache the day after but since then I had felt good. I presume I got away lightly as I never drank coffee or tea.

    This week I’ve started having headaches but they don’t feel like a normal headache and have realised it’s due to constipation. The diuretic effect of the caffeine must have made me go regular enough but since quiting I’ve realised I don’t go very often at all.

    Just something to think about as constipation = an extremely high chance of having headaches also. Time for a diet change…

  • Joe M. Jan 30, 2012

    I am a 36 year old male 5’9″ 172lbs and I experienced my first migraine about 2 years ago after a 60 minute run on a treadmill. The day before I had gone to the chiropractor for an adjustment for a slight scoliosis that I have. Initially I attributed the migraine to the adjustment. Since then I’ve had 3 more migraines which have each been triggered after a run. I spoke with my GP after the 1st and 2nd episode and he said that most likely I wasn’t eating or drinking enough before I ran. The most recent migraine I’ve had was three days ago. I went on a night run at 8:30pm which is a 30 minute jog I do around my block a few times a week. I almost immediately experienced aura’s which developed into partial blindness in my left eye, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound then was followed by an excruciating migraine. Luckily I was able to relax and fall asleep thankfully. When I awoke in the morning the headache was gone. Three days later I still feel tired and worn out. I believe the migraines are occurring from spinal fluid constriction or an undiagnosed aneurysm. I’ve been road biking, running, hiking, and swimming and the only time I get a migraine is after a run. At this point I am very concerned that it may be a very serious arterial/vein issue. I plan to schedule a CT scan as soon as possible. If anyone has advice or is having a similar experience I’d love to hear from you.

  • Cindy Feb 8, 2012

    I have also experienced these exercise headaches and have learned that I can’t work out hard so I keep it to walking on the treadmill no more than 35-40 minutes a day. I scared myself once by working out hard even though I knew I would get a migraine and afterwards my legs were wobbly and I felt like I could pass and of course the headache with aura. The headache lasted for 2 days and my blood pressure went up to where my whole body felt like it was pounding. Anybody have this experience? and what do you think it is? My doctor said I probably needed an adrenaline blocker but I couldn’t take it because of asthma.

    • Korin Mar 30, 2012

      Hi

      I’ve experienced exactly the same symptoms after exercising. I used to be a fairly fit individual and excercised fairly intensely four times a week. My migraines returned a few years ago after a few decades of absence. My bp is slightly raised but i’m reluctant to take tablets as generally they make me worse.
      Gentle exercise and lots of relaxation is maybe the key?

  • Tim Feb 27, 2012

    Good news! I feel I have finally solved my headache problem. I have had migraine/exertion headaches after running for 15 years (now 46 yr old male). They come on about 2-3 hours after the run, and can last about 6-10 hours. They are not due to lack of hydration in my case, although the headaches are worse the hotter it is outside. I hydrate enough, and in fact, if I drink too much water, the headache is much worse. Tried ibuprofen before or after the run, and that works to some degree, but I didn’t like taking pain relievers all the time. Saw many times that my electrolytes are probably off, and tried Gatorade/Powerade but that never worked. However, if I try just salt (and I added a few almonds to make it palatable), with water, the headaches don’t happen. I take about 1/2 tsp of salt after the run with water, and stay reasonably hydrated, but not too much water. No headache!! The sports drinks might work for some people, but they don’t have enough salt for me in my opinion. I will try V8/salt next, or might try buying Saltstick caps, which I have read about. Try the salt – it might work for you!

    • User May 16, 2012

      Headaches caused when drinking too much water that are relieved by taking salt are caused by Hyponatremia (low blood sodium). This can be a big problem, and can even cause coma and death, especially if you keep over-hydrating in spite of feeling bad.

      The opposite is also possible – Hypernatremia (high blood sodium) – which is typically caused by dehydration, which can also cause headaches.

      I’m also getting headaches, and wasn’t sure in which category I fell until I did a serum sodium level test after exercise (I had to do some other bloodwork so I asked the doc to add the sodium test as well). It turned out I was pretty dehydrated (sodium level 156, while normal is 135-145 and over 160 is a medical emergency), even though I wasn’t thirsty.

      Now I drink a lot more, and when I retested, sodium was 144. Headaches are not gone yet, but they are definitely less aggressive.

      • Shaun Apr 3, 2015

        Thank you for this. Sounds like me. I need a full teaspoon of salt after a 20 mile ride on hot day or my migraine comes like train three to four hours knocking of my feet. I do hydrate well with a pre sports drink and during sports drink.

        How you doing and more info welcome

  • Wayne Mar 26, 2012

    I’ve been suffering from headaches after exercise all my life (I’m 46), yesterday after playing basketball for several hours, after a drinking plenty of water, two cans of coconut juice (for electrolytes), a huge bowl of pho soup (for salts), ice on my neck (to cool me down) I go so sick I could not even get out of bed, it appears I have literally tried everything. I do have sinus issues, and even after a operation to open them up, I still suffer from sinus headaches, so I’m assuming that this is the source of the problem — the access physical excursions cause inflammation in my sinus that is the source of the migraines. Does anyone have similar conditions to mine and have had some success?

    • Greg Mar 27, 2012

      Wayne,
      I’m similar. Had sinus problems since young age. I’m 48 and workout 3 times a week plus 1-2 soccer games. I used to suffer headaches every third heavy workout. But the last 24 months it got much better (I switched from vegetarian to vegan but I doubt that this had a primary impact). Tomato juice helped a bit. Also yoga stretching. I feel it’s a combination of sinus swelling and tight neck muscles (bad posture). I must say say it was worse when I was younger.

  • Sarah Mar 29, 2012

    My Internist recently put me on Inderal (a blood pressure medication) to see if that would help with my migraines of 5 years. I still get them (via stress, hormones, genetics, whatever) 3-4 times per week, but the exertion trigger seems to be not as “touchy”. I can work out harder, get my heart rate up higher, etc. Previously, I had to quit all moderate exercise and go to the Y classes with the old ladies (I’m 32). I used deep breathing to moderate my heart rate, but while on the Inderal, I don’t have to do that any more…its nice. I’ve always had normal blood pressure. – My doc would like me to be on 60mg 2x per day, but it interferes with my sleep, so he backed me off to 60 mg once every other day and that seems to be the magic number for me….for now. :) I also take herbal/mineral/vitamin supplements and eat triptans practically for breakfast…jk.

  • raouf Jun 7, 2012

    hi i have headaches whene i workout,swimming.football .runing i whent to hospital they told me u have bleeding in ur head and they told me rest about 4 weeks and thene star ur exercices but nothing hapend plz plz i if someone heppend 4 him can he told me what i do to go back to my exercices becouse its bad life with out exercices thanks

  • Jarett Aug 25, 2012

    Hello, I am 17 years old and get horrible migraines after workouts as well. My symptoms are slightly different though. After an intense workout I begin to lose my peripheral vision, and this is a guaranteed migraine coming on. Usually 1-2 hours after my workout I lose part of my vision for a bit and then the headache is so bad I always throw up. I have taken extra strength advil and tried to go to sleep but EVERYTHING I do just prolongs the migraine. The migraines usually last for about 2-4 hours or until I manage to fall asleep. I would like to know if anyone has symptoms like these or knows how I can get them to stop. I love sports and exercise so I hate getting these very much! I’m definitely going to try some of your ideas as well. Thanks

  • Chris Aug 27, 2012

    Advil is utterly useless for migraines. You need to talk to your doctor about an abortive medication such as a triptan. It may take some experimentation to find the one that works best for you.

    If cost or other reasons make triptans unworkable, then you could try these things that some of my acquaintances have said work for them:

    * ice pack on the head, feet in a tub of warm water. The idea here is to get the blood flow away from the head to try to break the vasodilation/pain cycle that is such a large part of the pain.

    * deliberately provoke a “brain freeze” by eating or drinking something very cold, quickly. I have not personally tried this, but an acquaintance’s daughter swears by it. My theory is that this must trigger a vasoconstrictive reflex or some such. She says it will hurt like hell for the short term of the brain freeze, but then she gets reflex.

    As for preventing the pain in the first place, the only answer I’ve ever found is that your body will, over time, acclimatize to your exercise workload, and you will then have to push much harder to trigger a migraine–your “safe envelope” gets larger. You could also try some medications for migraine prevention; however, my experience is that you are always trading off side effects for the benefits, and I’ve not found the side effects to be worth it.

  • Silvwa Mar 27, 2013

    I started working out a week ago and ever since, Ive been getting migraines shortly after I’m done exercising. I have been taken Topirimate for almost two years now and I’ve never had any problem with it. I know my migraines are triggered by hunger; most of the time I get the migraine before I realize I’m hungry. I normally get a migraine around the middle of the day and at night.

    I am 18 years old and I exercise twice a day for 15 at a time. If anyone has suggestions on how to prevent migraines during the day or at night, please let me know. Thank you!

  • Joe Baxter Apr 14, 2013

    Hi my name is Joe I am 56 yrs old and I suffer from very bad migraines within 24 hours after exercise. I drink before, during, and after my bike rides but still
    get a migraine which can last up to 48 hours.

    I have been to the GP but there is no real answer to why ?

    • Tim Apr 15, 2013

      Joe – read the other postings about salt. If you have not tried increasing your salt with your rehydration, I think that is one of the first things to try. I have found that upping salt (V8 juice, or a salty snack after) with rehydration helps a lot, but sometimes I can still get a headache if I don’t balance the fluids just right. You are possibly drinking too much water, and without the right salt balance, the extra water goes to your brain and doesn’t get excreted – your brain tissue expands, and headache ensues.

  • Tayla Apr 9, 2014

    I’m a 15 year old girl and I don’t know what to do :(
    I wanted to start working out to stay in shape and be a healthier person in general. Until this started happening and interfering with me working out. After I’d do about 15-20 minutes of an online zumba workout, I’d feel good and fresh for about an hour and a half, and then BOOM, a sharp pain in my eyebrow and temple area would occur. Quite a sharp one. Would stay for 15-20 seconds at a time, come and go for a couple hours. They will only come after a work out! If this has anything to do with it, my father suffered from chronic migraines when he was a child, to the point where he’d throw up. But I don’t know, this has never happened to me before….But I also don’t work out often…I actually just started. I worry about alot of things and when I read online that I could have caused an anuyerism or that I need to go to the doctors asap really really terrifies me….I just wanted to work out without any serious problems or injuries , didn’t know that was too much to ask. This isn’t due to ‘not enough water’ because I drink alot of water during and after the workout. So I am properly hydrated. What could it be? Someone please help. :( I read somewhere that it could be too much strain on my neck if I’m not used to it which causes a possible migraine and that I need to stretch, but I still find this a little odd and sketchy.

  • Nima Apr 27, 2014

    be careful about what you do with yourself out there working out, please do read the following article

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2014811/

  • Chace May 24, 2014

    Well im am 18 and have always played sports but at a high school and recreational level. Just recently I’ve begun a daily workout of a hundred push ups and sit-ups. results are starting to show. However ever single time i am about to be finished, I am finished, or after this same workout, I begin to feel nauseous and i develop a serious headache. I have read some of the comments and I think I am going to try a tablespoon thirty minutes upon working out.

  • Josh Aug 8, 2014

    I lot of people say eat a good meal before working out but I just can’t do this. If I eat prior to working out I can feel the food sloshing around in my stomach and it makes me want to throw up. Am I the only one who has this reaction? A full stomach while going for a run is almost impossible for me.

  • Andy Feb 1, 2015

    started to get these sinus headaches a few years ago when skating outdoors. It does not happen when I skate indoors though. So here is what I found out by accident, ready for this? Organic Apple Cider vinegar! It restores the correct ph value in your body. So when exercising, obviously the the muscles get to acidy and that might cause the headaches. I know this sounds funky, but I tried it now multiple times after a workout and NO more headaches, it even clears your sinuses! I take 2 table spoons of apple cider vinegar and put it in a glass of water, drink it, done. Tastes a little like unfinished wine. Try it for yourselves. I use Braggs organic apple cider vinegar available at mothers market or on amazon.

  • Christy Feb 3, 2015

    I too get migraines and I have just recently started getting them after working out. I have found that on a daily basis, taking a herb called feverfew, it helps a lot. I stumbled upon it at GNC while looking to get off of a preventive, Inderall. I was taking Inderall and STILL getting headaches. Plus it made my BP very low, at it only runs at 112/62 on average anyway. So finding this herbal way has been a life saver for me. I also try peppermint or lavender essential oils to rub on my neck and temples. I hope this helps someone, as I know that everyone is totally different but if it sounds like something you want to try, Google it and/or ask an herbal expert.

  • Andy Apr 7, 2015

    As I looked even more into this problem, I found out it is a magnesium deficiency! I went to mothers and got a liquid magnesium (mega-mag) supplement. I take it before I exercise and after and one more time later in the day. Problem solved! But, what is the cause for the deficiency??

  • yossi Boker May 7, 2015

    I’ve been suffering from migraines for ages. after eliminating coffee and tea consumption, my health improved significantly; much less , migraines and much weaker effects. still though, i have experienced migraines after workout, which in my case comprised intensive mountain biking for a few hours. the migraine would show on the 2nd’ day after practicing. it was regular as a clock. migraine two days after practicing. i read that migraine could result out of shortage in liquids but i never suspected that this applies to me as i used to consume 4-5 liters per practice. occasionally, i realized that my blood pressure was low after practicing which made me suspect that i don’t drink enough. i increased my drinking significantly. 2 litters more while practicing and 2 liters every morning in the following days after practicing. i drink much beyond being thirsty. i almost drown myself with water. this proved miraculously helpful. my migraines were almost entirely eliminated and if i suffer one at very rare occasions – the effect is very weak compared to past migraines that would significantly impact me. one more tip – i realized that the level of B12 vitamin drops significantly after migraines so i get injections of B12, which i find very helpful for restoring my energies. bottom line, these mere steps relived me almost entirely from migraine suffering which improved my quality of life so much that it is hard to imagine. i hope it could work also for other sufferers. good health for you all!!

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