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?
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.