Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hard workout Headaches

Happy weekend everyone!  So many holidays today- it's Korean thanksgiving and International Coffee day!  Unfortunately, I have 2 huge exams coming up this week so I'm stuck indoors studying for most of it.  I did get in a hard workout this morning and I have a cold-like headache now.  Tried caffeine just a minute ago, so hopefully that'll help.  It occurred to me however that this isn't just a fluke.  I've noticed regular headaches after hard workouts, so I did a little research.

As it turns out, exercise should alleviate, not trigger headaches.  Most headaches occur due to the inflammation of blood vessels surrounding the brain, which then stretch out the underlying nerves and sends waves of pain.  While regular exercise can diminish this response through endorphin boosts and by improving blood flow to the brain (which minimizes blood vessel inflammation), some people do experience effort-induced migraine headaches which are triggered by intense exercise.  These exertion-related headaches can last anywhere between 5 minutes to 48 hours, but if they persist, you should see your doctor (I will be doing that!).  The majority of headaches post your sweat session can be prevented and alleviated with the following tips:

  • better hydration before, during and after your workout
  • warming up slowly and cooling down gradually after your workout
  • sufficient sleep
  • proper breathing during your workout
  • cold packs to your head or neck to alleviate head pain
  • less caffeine and no alcohol before or after exercise
  • temperature accommodations and apparel to prevent overheating 

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