What the headache?

So I have this condition that is really frustrating but somewhat constant.

If  I over-exert at all during a workout I get this brain-busting headache several hours after I’m done.

I’ve found this pretty much only happens with certain types of workouts and generally a series of warning signs present themselves but of course, I keep on going.

1. It’s too warm. If where I’m working out gets too hot and stuffy, that’s never a good sign for me.

2. I push past fatigue. They say to see results you have to work your muscles to failure. I’m not sure who “they” are but I do recall a Billy Blanks video in which he keeps yelling “failure, failure, failure!!”so, I’m not embarrassed to say, that’s probably where I got it from and I’m not one to mess with Mr. Tae Bo himself.

3. My sweat stops. This literally happens. I get to a point where I have no more sweat. My cheeks turn to tomatoes and my extremities turn pink. When I see this happen I almost know for sure I’ll be fighting a headache later. This is probably a huge, red flag flapping in my face telling me to stop …  but I don’t. Shocker.

I know , I know most of you are probably thinking “stop pushing it”. But if you knew me one iota, you would know that advice falls on deaf ears. I’m not proud of it but I have a problem with extremes and limits when it comes to my body and my brain.

I ALWAYS push it. Always. I realize this is not good.

I really am trying to get better at this. It’s a work-in-progress.

Anyway, I wanted to get to the bottom of this whole headache thing. My first instinct when these started happening was that I was dehydrated. But since I’ve been very good about my water intake I knew this couldn’t be the case.

Then I found this article from Livestrong.com and it sounds about right.  I thought I would share in case any of you suffer from this same post-workout ailment.

It’s also good to know the dangers and warning signs that it’s something more serious, which this article includes.

Apparently the cause of exercise-induced headaches is unknown but this article says there is a theory that the blood vessels in our heads dilate during strenuous exercise, which causes pressure in the head and a throbbing sensation.  Sounds like it makes sense, right?

Here are the main points but the whole article is good:

  • Exercise can cause two types of headaches, primary and secondary.
  • Secondary headaches can be dangerous and can point to a more serious issue. Secondary headaches are often partnered with other symptoms including vomiting, a stiffness in the neck or loss of consciousness. So if you have ANY of these things happening, get to a doctor asap.  These also tend to last several days.
  • Primary headaches are usually characterized as an overall pounding or throbbing (a-ha!) and can last up to 48 hours (double a-ha!!)

And here are some tips to prevent workout headaches:

  • Warm-up efficiently. Slowly heating your internal temperature may help your symptoms.
  • Don’t work out in excessive heat.
  • If you notice a pattern with certain exercises, avoid it. (Um… yeah this one will be hard for me to swallow. I think I may just tough out the occasional headache)

Happy calorie burning!


One thought on “What the headache?

  1. WATER, water, water!! Sounds like you need to hydrate more throughout the day; also before, during and after your workout. Headaches are usually a sign of dehydration. XO Love your blogs, keep em’ coming 🙂

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