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  1. #1
    Registered User Roc[}{]axor's Avatar
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    Sudden Headache When Lifting

    I have recently gotten back into working out and this past Saturday when I was lifting with my son I suddenly got a very bad headache. It came on very quickly during one of my sets and I had to stop working out. I felt dizzy and the headache stayed with me through the following day.

    I went to the doctor and he suggested that my allergies were to blame and that I should use Sudafed and aspirin to help alleviate my headaches. He said I had some water probably in my middle ear and that the allergies were closing up my Eustachian tubes preventing this water from draining. I took both products he suggested and went to work out. Before I finished my first set the headache returned and I thought I was going to pass out.

    Has anyone experienced this and if so how long did it take before you could lift again.
    Any insight would be helpful .

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Registered User JD1213's Avatar
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    I havent , But I would think a complete Physical exam is in order. Including x-rays. See a specialist if possible. what you described doesnt sound good at all.
    Good luck.
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  3. #3
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    You may also want to Google "exertion headache", see if your symptoms match up to those described. This is a fairly commmon thing, especially in those starting a training program or returning after a long layoff.

    Good luck.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Roc[}{]axor's Avatar
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    I will be following up with the doctor if this doesn't clear up soon. I will also google the exertion headache tip also

    Thanks
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  5. #5
    Registered User pastorgbc's Avatar
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    There are a lot of things that can cause headaches when exerting yourself. You did the right thing going to the doctor.

    Some things you may want to check on your own are:

    1. Are you breathing correctly. Inhale and exhale normally during every rep; inhale on the negative portion, exhale as you exert.

    2. Are you getting enough water? Dehydration can manifest itself as a headache during exertion.

    3. Are you taking any supplements that contain caffeine or other stimulants? Caffeine and some stimulants can cause headaches because they are vasodilators. If you are addicted to caffeine, you can also get a headache for the same reason if you stop drinking coffee.

    Ray
    “I have walked that long road ... I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest...to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, ... and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.” ---Nelson Mandela
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by Roc[}{]axor

    Has anyone experienced this and if so how long did it take before you could lift again.
    Gunn27 is correct, The technical name is exercise induced hypertension. Everyone that exercises gets a rise in their blood pressure while exercising. It is a high spike that does not lower quickly after you stop the action that caused it. Take your blood pressure when you start exercising and then again when you get a headache. Then take your BP again about 15 to 20 min. later and it should have normalized or be somewhat back to normal if it is still very high, around 180, you have a problem. Exercise hypertension is a serious medical problem.

    Although I don't like to badmouth a physician, it may be in your best interest to see someone else because his diagnosis does not make a lot of sense to me. You may want to read a bit about it..

    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...31/ai_71900868

    http://www.eymj.org/abstracts/viewAr...h=12&page=1014
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  7. #7
    Registered User Roc[}{]axor's Avatar
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    Wow a lot of great information guys. I am just surprised that this has set in suddenly since I have been lifting for about 8 weeks already.

    When I lift I am sure to breathe correctly, I always correct my son about holding his breathe when we lift.

    I also try to drink plenty of water because we workout on the patio, and it gets a little hot this time of year in Florida.

    We are expecting a tropical storm to come through so I moved the furniture from the yard this afternoon, got a slight headache from that also.

    I called my doctor and he said to give the Sudafed, Nasonex, and Aspirin a chance to work and he would see me in two weeks.

    I do appreciate all the insight offered.
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  8. #8
    Registered User jtart2's Avatar
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    I had the same problem. I started lifting heavy weight with lower reps. All that hard, fast pushing made my head hurt like crazy. I was also taking Creatine, and I stopped. I don't know if that was the cause, though.

    I slowed down my reps, reduced the weight, and focused on breathing, and now the headaches are all gone. It doesn't hurt to have a check up either.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Roc[}{]axor's Avatar
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    Just an update for anyone that may experience the same type of headaches:

    After I gave my primary physicians suggestion a week to start clearing up my headaches, they didn’t go away. Since he had said it was related to my middle ear I scheduled an appointment with an ENT.

    When I went to see the ENT he said there was no fluid in my middle ear and that my ears looked health and clear. Hmmm…, me thinks my primary doctor is an idiot, lukamar you may be right.

    So I made an appointment with an orthopedic doctor for the following day. He took x-rays of my neck and told me I had degenerated discs between the 3 and 4th and 6 and 7th vertebrae. He told me to wear a cervical collar for two weeks and come back to see him then. No lifting in the mean time.

    I have made an appointment with another orthopedic doctor for this Monday to get another opinion just to see what he thinks.

    I will post the results, as they are available.
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  10. #10
    manboobs and love handles nomasgordo's Avatar
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    btw, Sudafed has a caffeine-like stimulant in it, called pseudoephedrine, which has a definate side-effect of headaches. if you are already getting them from lifting, i would be wary about taking that crap.
    Is that a weight loss plateau or is it your hidden box of cookies you break into when no one is looking?! :)
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  11. #11
    Finding my Potential empresscat's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nomasgordo
    btw, Sudafed has a caffeine-like stimulant in it, called pseudoephedrine, which has a definate side-effect of headaches. if you are already getting them from lifting, i would be wary about taking that crap.
    Sudafed makes me jittery and tense... I take it sometimes in a pinch, but for clearing up allergy-related sinus issues, something like Claritin (or a generic of the same) with NO decongestants is more effective, with fewer side effects.

    Zicam spray also works wonders for clearing up siunses.

    As to the degenerated discs - really, I've found both orthopedists and chiropractors overstate the downside. Pretty much everyone has some degeneration over time.

    It may be your problem, it may not.

    I know how much it sucks not having answers, though, so I hope you find some soon!
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by empresscat
    Pretty much everyone has some degeneration over time.
    that explains why there are so many degenerates in the over 35 forum
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    Wink

    Originally Posted by kimsquit
    that explains why there are so many degenerates in the over 35 forum
    shhhh! don't let the kiddies know - occaisionally an innocent one wanders in
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  14. #14
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    Originally Posted by pastorgbc
    There are a lot of things that can cause headaches when exerting yourself. You did the right thing going to the doctor.

    Some things you may want to check on your own are:

    1. Are you breathing correctly. Inhale and exhale normally during every rep; inhale on the negative portion, exhale as you exert.

    2. Are you getting enough water? Dehydration can manifest itself as a headache during exertion.

    3. Are you taking any supplements that contain caffeine or other stimulants? Caffeine and some stimulants can cause headaches because they are vasodilators. If you are addicted to caffeine, you can also get a headache for the same reason if you stop drinking coffee.

    Ray
    Great post and I would rep you if I could but I have found that breathing is so critical when I lift or I will get a headache. This is probably the number one cause.
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    Here's your solution....

    I had the exact same symptoms as you did for about 3 or 4 weeks. So forget about dehydration, allergies, supplements, etc. I was super hydrated, taking all the right supps, no allergies, no nothing. This was the first time I had felt these sudden and strong headaches.
    I went to my chiropractor and he basically said my neck area was out of alignment. After two sessions my headaches were gone. I would have never imagined a misaligned neck would cause this, but you have to remember lots of nerves go through there and some may be pinched. My aches were so sudden and strong that I couldn't continue with my workout. Even on the next day I would still feel it a bit. Anyway, go see a chiropractor and give it a chance. It worked for me. I'm 100% better now and have not had any recurring headaches.

    Good luck!!
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    Originally Posted by lukamar
    Gunn27 is correct, The technical name is exercise induced hypertension
    Not really.

    Hypertension is not a common cause of exertional (or exercise-induced) headache. Everyone's blood pressure goes up somewhat during exercise. However, not everyone gets headaches. These headaches shouldn't be brushed off. The far majority are benign and can be treated with occasional use of NSAIDS. Others rarely are due to a more serious underlying problem. If your primary care doctor doesn't take this seriously, go see a neurologist. Best of luck.
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  17. #17
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    Originally Posted by goatscrot
    Not really.

    Hypertension is not a common cause of exertional (or exercise-induced) headache. Everyone's blood pressure goes up somewhat during exercise. However, not everyone gets headaches. These headaches shouldn't be brushed off. The far majority are benign and can be treated with occasional use of NSAIDS. Others rarely are due to a more serious underlying problem. If your primary care doctor doesn't take this seriously, go see a neurologist. Best of luck.
    Yes Really..

    If you don't have hypertension, high blood pressure, you cannot have exercise induced hypertension, which is classed as a medical problem. You only get headaches when your systolic rises over 180 (that's hypertension, 60 points over normal). If you are young and healthy you probably will not have a problem, if you have plaque or poor circulation or your body does not regulate your BP well and the BP stays high you get a headache. In some people it can raise to well over 200. Taking Nsaids for this condition will do no good at all, as Nsaids don't lower BP. You would have to use a BP lowering drug like Adalat to accomplish returning to normal quickly.

    There are many underlying causes for this condition and they should be checked out by a competent physician.
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    Originally Posted by lukamar
    If you don't have hypertension, high blood pressure, you cannot have exercise induced hypertension, which is classed as a medical problem. You only get headaches when your systolic rises over 180 (that's hypertension, 60 points over normal). If you are young and healthy you probably will not have a problem, if you have plaque or poor circulation or your body does not regulate your BP well and the BP stays high you get a headache. In some people it can raise to well over 200. Taking Nsaids for this condition will do no good at all, as Nsaids don't lower BP. You would have to use a BP lowering drug like Adalat to accomplish returning to normal quickly.
    Nothing personal, but your assessment just isn't accurate.

    The vast majority of exertional headaches are not due to hypertension. Read up here: http://www.fpnotebook.com/NEU265.htm I'd be happy to provide other references if further reading is needed. Assuming the OP is evaluated by a medical professional and these headaches are found to be benign, NSAIDs are indeed an effective treatment. Best of luck to him.
    Last edited by goatscrot; 09-11-2006 at 03:14 PM.
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  19. #19
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    Originally Posted by goatscrot

    Nothing personal, but your assessment just isn't accurate.
    Well then.... In the first line of your quoted link how would you explain to me the term "Pressure Headache"? We are talking exercise induced exertional headache, or at least I am. A pressure headache is caused by.........Pressure and the only pressure you regularly have in your body, as long as you don't count gas, is Blood Pressure. Your link is little more than a list with no information attached.

    Yonsei University College of Medicine
    http://www.eymj.org/2003/pdf/121014.pdf

    National Library of Medicine/National institutes of Health
    http://www.theberries.ns.ca/archives...headaches.html
    Last edited by lukamar; 09-11-2006 at 05:36 PM.
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    Originally Posted by lukamar
    In the first line of your quoted link how would you explain to me the term "Pressure Headache"?
    More than happy to explain. The quote when read in context is listed under symptoms as a "bilateral or throbbing pressure headache". This is simply a description of the pain as throbbing or pressure-like.
    We are talking exercise induced exertional headache, or at least I am.
    Precisely. As am I.
    ....the only pressure you regularly have in your body, as long as you don't count gas, is Blood Pressure.
    Not true.

    You have central perfusion pressure, intra-abdominothoracic pressure, arterial pressure, venous pressure, wedge pressure, intracranial pressure......all distinct and separate entities from systemic blood pressure.
    Your link is little more than a list with no information attached.
    Actually it's a list of information. But here's some more information in a format perhaps more pleasing to you:

    Cough, exertional, and sex headaches.
    Cutrer FM - Neurol Clin - 01-FEB-2004; 22(1): 133-49

    "Etiology involves sudden increases in intra-abdominothoracic pressure into the cranium, causing a benign transient increase in intracranial pressure. This results in the distension of or traction on pain-sensitive vascular or meningeal structures."

    In other words, this transient increase of ICP is due to straining during exercise. Intracranial pressure (ICP) is very different from systemic blood pressure.

    On the topic of NSAID use (or nonuse):

    "Indomethacin (a NSAID) is the de facto drug of choice for benign exertional headaches. The therapeutic dosage may range from 25 to mg to 150 mg per day, although higher dosages up to 250 mg may be necessary."


    Other references available upon request.
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    Originally Posted by Roc[}{]axor
    I have recently gotten back into working out and this past Saturday when I was lifting with my son I suddenly got a very bad headache. It came on very quickly during one of my sets and I had to stop working out. I felt dizzy and the headache stayed with me through the following day.

    I went to the doctor and he suggested that my allergies were to blame and that I should use Sudafed and aspirin to help alleviate my headaches. He said I had some water probably in my middle ear and that the allergies were closing up my Eustachian tubes preventing this water from draining. I took both products he suggested and went to work out. Before I finished my first set the headache returned and I thought I was going to pass out.

    Has anyone experienced this and if so how long did it take before you could lift again.
    Any insight would be helpful .

    Thanks



    Do a search for weightlifters headache.... It has a scientific name too.
    Anyhow,, get a bottle of Bayer asprins,, take 3 to thin your blood 1/2 hour before gym.... Warm up slow and ramp up for about 15min... start a sweat. You may feel a little of it comin on,, breath deep... Then your good to go... In about a month you can cut it to 2 then 1 then your all set. Other than this option,, stop workin out for a month & ruin all your gains.
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    I am so happy to find this thread. Last to last Friday I was finishing up with some pushups when I suddenly got a really bad headache..It was so bad that I could not conitue doing anything else..I usually do a HIIT after lifting. Anyways, I came back home and in a few hours the pain went away.

    I enjoyed the long weekend, did not work out, but played a lot of tennis.

    i went back to the Gym on Tuesday, warmed up a little with small weights and then started bench press. I finshed 5 and the same headache...but this time much much severe back. I walked arnd the gym a little bit and then tried another for of exercise but the pain intensified. Cam back home and had a really really bad headache unlike last time. I had it throughout the night. They say these suddne headaches maybe do to hammeraoge (spelling??) and my friend had one so this really scared me. Went to the doctor. He said its not that serioud but still suggested an MRI. I felt pretty sure its hammeroage. My MRI was next day and I was so terrified the full day and cud not sleep at night. After the MRI the doctor said everything was fine. He said it maybe just coz I lifted wrong and asked me to take it easy.

    I have gone to the gym three days after that and everyday I had slight pain ( i lifted light )...today i thought everything is back to normal..so i lifted heavy again...and bam..it came back..really bad again.

    So from this thread I am guessing I may have to visit my chiropractor. I have a computer job and there is a good chance I may have screwed up my neck sitting in odd positions.

    Roc[}{]axor..Please keep us updated with your findings and Good luck. I really want to get rid of this pain. I am just now getting into flow and dont wanna leave working out.

    Thanks for all your help guys and I apologise for the extra large post
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    Registered User Roc[}{]axor's Avatar
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    I have seen another orthopedic doctor and spoke with a chiropractor. I was surprised they both agreed that I should have an MRI.

    The second orthopedic doctor and chiropractor told me not to wear the cervical collar that the first doctor had told me to wear. This can create stiffness in the neck and will not help at all. The second orthopedic surgeon took new x-rays and said that although I do have degeneration in the disks he doesn’t believe that it is the cause of my problems. The chiropractor believes that this can be cleared up with adjustments but thought that an MRI would be a good idea.


    I will keep this updated as I find out anything. I am scheduled for an MRI so I will post after the results have come back.
    Last edited by Roc[}{]axor; 09-16-2006 at 04:11 AM.
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    A few times I've gotten headaches when lifting (usually legs) and a trip to the chiropractor gives instant relief.
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    Good luck with the MRI. I am sure its nuthin serious like it happened in my case. What I did not realise is that this is over 35 thread...I am 27..Am I allowed to post here ...Keep us updated though. I am thinking of seeing a chiropractor on Monday
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    Probably Nothing but.....

    As an ER physician we often have to rule out things that while aren't very likely are potentially very dangerous. Aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations etc can present in this manner as can less dangerous phenomenon such as exertional headaches, ice pick headaches, atypical migraines or exercise induced headaches. The difficulty can be resolved with an MRI or if not available readily a CT with contrast and/or lumbar puncture. Until these more dangerous situations are ruled out I would be very wary about exercising.
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    Read this post if your getting those head aches Bro's

    Originally Posted by Roc[}{]axor
    I have seen another orthopedic doctor and spoke with a chiropractor. I was surprised they both agreed that I should have an MRI.

    The second orthopedic doctor and chiropractor told me not to wear the cervical collar that the first doctor had told me to wear. This can create stiffness in the neck and will not help at all. The second orthopedic surgeon took new x-rays and said that although I do have degeneration in the disks he doesn’t believe that it is the cause of my problems. The chiropractor believes that this can be cleared up with adjustments but thought that an MRI would be a good idea.


    I will keep this updated as I find out anything. I am scheduled for an MRI so I will post after the results have come back.



    I posted this above last week,, you are all going to see Chiropractors,, NO dice !!
    Do a search on Weight lifter's cephalgia ,, on Yahoo.... This is what you have....

    Weight lifter's cephalgia

    Read my post a week before on this,, scroll up...

    Either take a month off,, or do the blood thinning w/ asprin and warm up allot then slllllowwwwwly work into your workout.. It works,, start slow..
    After a month you can fade off the asprin & your all set... Just learn a lesson to Breath & warm up first....
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    Final Update

    Since my last update to this post quite a bit has happened. For the sake of completeness I thought I would update this with the final analysis.

    I had an MRI/MRA done, the neurologist found what he called an arachniod cyst at the back of my brain between my cerebellum and the brain. He felt that this was probably just an incidental finding but suggested I have a second neurosurgeon take a look.

    I scheduled an appointment, and after the second neurosurgeon had reviewed my MRI/MRA he concurred that I indeed had an arachnoid cyst, but that it was probably not related to the headaches I was having. He explained that if it was related to the cyst, I would be having headaches all the time and because of the position of the cyst I would also probably have trouble with my motor skills and balance ( I am not). He suggested I have another MRI in 6 months to follow up.

    I asked him what does he think may be the cause of the headaches, and he said that many muscles attach to the back of the head and I may have pulled and injured one of them. He doesn’t believe it is from a degenerated disk or arthritis (which he states that he can see I do have in the x-ray films), and that I can resume exercising gently. Everyone has some sort of degeneration over time and some more than others. Be my own best judge of what I can and cannot do (if it hurts don’t do it).

    This week I started some light cardio to get back in the groove. I put down all the old vices I had re-indulged in (chocolate cake and beer), being depressed is a bummer. Since I stopped lifting in August my weight has gone from 178 to 203 (not in a good way). I am looking forward to the next few months.

    In the final analysis it appears that the above post by ttreewalkerr was pretty accurate. I would also like to thank everybody for the great advice and insight.

    Most of all I would like to thank lukamar and 30-A rider for the PM’s they sent me with all the great advice, information and their time. Guys you Rock!
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    Thanks for keeping us informed!
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    Figured I'd put my two cents in:

    Last Friday I had the same issue - mid-lift (incline bench press) got an explosive headache. Walked around for a few minutes and the pain went away and was able to finish my other lifts.

    The next night I was enjoying physical activity in the bedroom (don't want to be inappropriate) and got an EXCRUCIATING headache that stopped me in my tracks completely. The headache lasted 13 hours - from the time of the exertion until I was given a Toridol shot.

    My doctor was afraid I had an aneurysm (due to the head trauma I suffered in July during a motorcycle accident) and sent me to get an MRI.

    Got a CT Scan instead and everything is normal. Just a case of exertion headache.

    The docs recommended I stay on a steady supply of Ibuprofen (800 mg every 8 hours) for a few days and take it easy on the weights next week.

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