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Avatar universal

Headaches when working out. What could be wrong

Whenever im pushing myself during working out, whether its a set of push ups or lifting weights at the end of the set when im really pushing like when my face will get red, i will get a pretty bad headache pretty much forcing me to discontinue the workout.  Just has started happening the last week, but it always seems to happen. Do I have a brain tumor or something, whats wrong? =(  

Thanks
Zach
227 Responses
Avatar universal
Headache can be a symptom of heat exhaustion.  If you work out primarily outdoors, this could be the cause.  Dehydration can promote heat exhaustion.  Regardless of whether you perform exercise indoors or out, you should drink sufficient water when you exercise.  The recommendation is 10 glasses a day for adults and taking drinks every 15-20 minutes during workouts.  Sports drinks and juices can replace lost nutrients during exercise.  

Some sports supplements are known to cause headaches.  If you currently use supplements, try cycling out one thing at a time to see if something you are taking is causing the headaches.  

Other things to do:
Limit caffeine and alcohol intake, take a multivitamin, have a balanced diet, limit sodium, and get plenty of sleep.  

A final thing, if you are overtraining or performing exercises with "bad form", you can be putting excess stress on your body which could result in a headache.
Avatar universal
Well no heat exhaustion or dehydration. i am currently cycling out the supplements with no luck so far, i think im gonna give it another week before i go back on.  I did see something online about tension headaches, which are usually from bad posture, and i have a job where i sit down all day, so thats the only thing i can think of so far which holds any weight.  Im a pretty healthy dude, could eat some more greens maybe but, other then that im in good shape.  The headaches just started all of sudden which is the weird part.  

Thanks for feedback
Avatar universal
Well no heat exhaustion or dehydration. i am currently cycling out the supplements with no luck so far, i think im gonna give it another week before i go back on.  I did see something online about tension headaches, which are usually from bad posture, and i have a job where i sit down all day, so thats the only thing i can think of so far which holds any weight.  Im a pretty healthy dude, could eat some more greens maybe but, other then that im in good shape.  The headaches just started all of sudden which is the weird part.  

Thanks for feedback
Avatar universal
Zach,

I have exactly the same symptoms you describe.  It just started for me about 10 days ago.  I can do a light workout without a problem but if I am doing squats, leg presses, leg extensions and am exerting myself at say 90% I will get a throbbing headache in the back of my head right above my neck.  I have to stop working out immediately and usually clasp my head in my hands and will have this headache for hours later.  I have been working out for years and never had anything like this.  I added kefir to my diet about 1 month ago and I am going to eliminate this from my diet in an effort to rule it out.  It's the only real change I have made in my diet.  I will post again when I find out what's going on.  I may also contact my doctor, because like you I thought there is always the possibility of a tumor.  Let's hope not for both of our sakes.

Hank
Avatar universal
Hey Everyone,

I used to have the exact same problems.  I went and saw a Dr. and he said I had most likely strained my neck while lifting.  So whenever my neck and shoulders would tense up during a particularly strenuous rep, the strained nerves in my neck would cause a headache.  He said if I just quit working out for a while and gave my neck a chance to heal, I would be fine.  

In any event, I stopped strength training for a couple of months, and when I started up again I was okay.  Previously I had tried taking a 2 or 3 weeks off, but it wasn't enough.

Hope this helps.

-TIC
Avatar universal
Get checked for a pinched nerve in your neck, if you have one , and it sounds real possible, You want to get it adjusted before its to severe.......................See a chiro take my word. Also have your blood pressure checked.
Avatar universal
I had a similar problem.  I found out that it was my cervical vertebrae getting out of alignment and pressing on some nerves.  A chiropractor adjusted me and never had the problem again.
Avatar universal
thanx evryone for all the coments i was looking around to see what could posibly be wrong with me i thought i also had a tumor thanx for all the info
Avatar universal
hey, i read this article because i too have recently been getting headaches during my workout. i am 16, good shape and have been lifting for a couple of years now. i have also currently added lipo 6 to my daily vitamins and supplements to cut up a bit. i was wondering if this could have caused the headaches. i have been taking them for about a month now though so i wasnt sure if that was really the problem since it has just started happening in the past few days. if anyone can give me any kind of help or info, please do so. my email address is ***@****. thanks for the help.
Avatar universal
i did 200 squats and the headache came right after that i never had it b4 n when i message areas on my head it hurts bad is it the same? what can i do? i was in bad form when i did it still hurts till now hope someone helps me

thx
Avatar universal
This sounds like a Primary Exertional Headache.
This is like a Primary Cough Headache because it  accurs as a result of increased pressure to the head, particularly if the exertion is from lifting weights.
While straining to heave a weight you may inadvertently do what's called a Valsalva Maneuver, which is the term for trying to exhale while holding your breath.
this increases pressure in blood vessels in the head.
Avatar universal
this happened to me as well i think, i havnt seen a doctor or anything but i was riding up a pretty steep hill and must of had my neck crunched up....got THE WORST headache ever. 2 days later i was doing some "self maintenance" and was struck down again.  guess i have to lay off excercise and sex for a while.

at least i hope thats all
Avatar universal
I have had the exact same problem.  This is second day with it.  It occured yesterday when I was doing bench presses.  On my last set I guess my for was not the best that or I was not breathing properly when all of sudden I felt a strong pinched sensation in the back of my neck/lower head.  The pain causes a headache but what is odd is that it stays only on the one side of my brain (the left).  The headache stayed for the rest of the night and I was fine in the morning.  I went back to the gym in the afternoon and decided to do some simple exercises pullups pushups and dips.  But it wasn't until I did again my last set of my last exercise of dips that the headache came back..again I decided to push and do about 30 dips.  I found myself clasping my head in my hands as the pain was impossible to work through.
Avatar universal
hey, my is kevin, and im 15 years old, i think i have the same problem u've been talking about, two weeks ago i was working out and i got such a bad headache that i fell off my machine and was on the floor for five minutes before i could see. It was the first time it happened and i wasnt even trying to do more weight than usual. It's been getting worse and now if i even lift a heavy bag of trash my head throbs and no pain relivers work. My vision goes bad and i lose my balance. It's only getting worse. Do i need to see a doctor?
Avatar universal
last Wednesday I was doing squats when a pain shot through the left side of my head.  There was an article posted in our local paper about brain hemmoraging and almost all your symptoms were listed.... I am going to the Doctor tomorrow to find out what exactly happened to me.  Hoping it is just a pinched nerve that will heal on it's own.  You should definitely go see a Dr as soon as possible.  When it comes to certain areas of our body, one can never be too careful
436973 tn?1217947089
Hi Kevin,  I think you definitely need to ask your parents to take you to a doctor.
Avatar universal
I agree w/ Paul764, almost all of the cases above sound like Exortional headaches which is mainly caused by poor breathing techniques (mainly holding your breath while straining to get that final rep or two) while exerting a lot of stress during.  The most common exercises to cause these are squats and leg extensions.  If you get this the best advice to to take at least 2-3 weeks off of strength training.  IF you don't take time off the condition can be chronic.  When you go back to strength training really focus on taking short quick but easy (dont force out air real hard) breaths.  This will take some time to get used to.  Good luck and stay healthy.
Avatar universal
Hi,

How are you?
Some people get headaches during exercise. These headaches are completely physiological. Please remember to do warm up exercises. Also maintain your fluid intake throughout the work out.
A mild OC pain killer before exercise will also help. Take care!

Avatar universal
Ok i have kiinda a weird symptom simular to this. I was also working out one day last set last rep strained and had a huge head ache in the back of my head on the right side right above my neck. It felt like i stained my seck sort of but i can definitely tell it has something to do with my breating and also some exercises or movments. Ok but heres the reallly weird thing. This happened aobut a week ago, i went to work out a couple days ago and slightly came back again(not weird part). Ok the reallly weird part is yesterday and this mortning when i was using the restroom there was a good amount of blood mixed in with the stool. Im only 20 and in good shape, dont drink much smoke some but generally healthy. Was wondering if the blood could have been cause by this straining and headache i had. When it happened yesterday it was a very good about of blood mixed in adn today not so much just a slight amount. Hoping this isnt colon cancer or anything as i dont have insurance at the moment which i found out yetsterday while talking to my dad. Any advice would b much appreciated.
Avatar universal
also i got the head ache again the day before yesterday while yelling at a parent who wouldnt shut up at a football game, im an official. Also a couple days before that while working out for the first time since it first happened
Avatar universal
go to a neuro or chiropractic, my mom had the same problem.
Avatar universal
hello all,

was searching on th net for "types of head aces" when i found this site...
same symptons, severe head ache will doing weights, real pulsing sensation, feel like my head is going to explode, feel every heart beat as well firing off in my head, hands pressed to either side of my head...
also during "a work out" with my girl friend the same thing happened...

i have a dull head ache after, neck pain as well, right at the top where my neck joins to my head...

does this go away by it self, should i get it checked by a dr, will a dr be aware of this type of thing, did any body get brushed of by their dr...?

please advise on what to do...
Avatar universal
I have been dealing with migraines since I was 14, now I am 21 and still deal with them on a daily basis. Dr's finally ran some tests when I was 16 and discovered a beignen tumor in my heart (this was suppose to be the reasoning behind my migraines) they went away for a few months and then came back full fledge ever since. I cannot work out, I cannot be in the sunlight for too long, Over sleep, under sleep, cannot be around flouresent lights (which are in every store, gym, dr. offices, schools, etc) Ive been on every single medication for migraines that they've come out with. Nothing works...  I would love to be able to workout once again but anything with alot of head movement (sit ups, pushups, running) Im out for 2 days. I just want them to figure out what is wrong already, its been 7 years of a lot of restrictions. I just want to live a normal lifestyle. HELP!
725621 tn?1314843247
strong i believe it has something to do with poor circulation! not enough oxygen and energy being transported to the brain. think you'll need to stop and take deep breaths. also see your physician could be mild stroke or something my uncle stuffer those but it may differ with each individual.
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