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Old 01-16-2013, 01:49 PM   #11
Arturo Garcia
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Re: Exercise Induced Headache?

Instead of starting a new thread, let me just reply to this one. I just searched this forum for "induced headache" and this was the most recent thread. Yes, I was looking for "exercise induced headaches".

My first came about 1 or 2 years ago after a tough WOD which included a ton of reps of Dumbbell hang-squat-cleans and push-ups. If you've ever done that first movement, you know it gives you DOMS in your traps for days. Perhaps because of the weight you're "cleaning" but most likely because on every rep you throw the DBs back down and have to "catch" them and this tough negative is probably very stressful on some muscles, specially the traps. They smoke your forearms too but that is beside the point.

I have read almost every thread I found here and most stories are very similar. Many good points are brought up. Many of the common questions are:

Was I dehydrated that day?
Did I have water during the workout? (I figure during longer WODs most people don't drink water).
Did I have a lot of caffeine that day?
Do some movements cause more stress to the neck/trap muscles than others? Which ones are good/bad?
Is it because I held my breath during certain exercise?
Is it because my blood preassure got too high at one point during the workout?
Could it actually be mental stress and not just physical stress? (Mental Stress tenses the traps and neck muscles, right?)

And it's funny that many of us share similar experience.

For instance, in my case they are more like a migraine, which affect one side of the head. The pain seems to go from the back of the skull on that side, directly towards the EYE on the side (or just behind the eye). After a WOD and taking a shower, sometimes after eating as well, the first sign is my vision: it gets blurry! Or a better description is, I see some bright spots. Scary stuff. Yes I went to a neurologist and had some sort of scan... my head seems fine and the guy suggested I was too stressed (emotionally).

Like many here, the headache RUINS that entire day sometimes. Luckily I don't get them that often. And also just like many: I continue to have what I describe like a "latent migraine" for a few days, which means, it's like a migraine wanting to pop-up... but if I rest and do nothing, it wont. But if I even jump or shake my head very hard, I can replicate the migraine pain!

An accupuncturist I went to pressed really hard on some muscles on the back of my skull and it felt pretty good afterwards, once. Kelly Starrett's video suggest soft tissue work in that area.

Also, I read a few people say something that also applies to me: I had x-rays all over my spine, and a Chiro told me (like many testimonials I've read), that my neck was too straight (lost the natural curve). So this may very well be the source of problems as well. I always suspected on the neck being the isue, neck and/or traps, be it because of emotional or physicla stress.

More things: there are certain drills that for some reason REALLY trash me. This may be an individual thing, so this may only apply to you but with different onces. I had done Fran and many metcons, short and long, going very hard giving it all I've got, and never felt so bad as some other workouts where I actually tried to take it easy, resting a lot (not metcons), but including certain drills. For example, single leg hip thrusts, or single leg hip extensions, in my case, do this to me, and I'm pretty sure they trigger the migraine. But why, I asked, if they don't really use the traps much?? But they are very hard for me, perhaps due to some existing quadratus lumborum issues I have, who knows. They give me nausea, almost, and can cause the migraine.

Fast forward to today (long post!!), I did some yoga poses that indicated "gently press" in various ways... well I pressed very hard to the point where by the end of my count to 20 I was shaking and quite a bit of lactic acid had built. I'm pretty sure it's not meant to be done this way. Because of being stubborn I nearly got the headache today. And these drills seemed all so very simple!

I massaged the back of my neck (base of skull) very hard with the tip of my thumbs, then iced it for a few minutes (not sure this last thing was a good idea or not). I was starting to get depressed because as I said, when I get this, my day is ruined. But today has been the first day I actually prevented it. I was even seeing the bright spots but I got rid of it. So in my case, massage, ice, and just laying down for a while.... got it.

I will continue to do the yoga poses I'm doing but listen to the "gently" part. So it seems that just exerting oneself too hard may be the cause, but in my own personal experience, ONLY with limited exercises. This is the misterious part. Perhaps we all have different weaknesses in different muscles, and when we over-exert ourselves on THAT muscle, we trigger it. This last bit is just a theory of mine, because in my case I am almost certain it has to do with overworking the quadratus lumborum and some other "core" musculature. I am now even unsure about the traps being a culprit, as with most drills that can over-work the traps, the core is also used a lot.

To conclude (yeah, this got long....), I am sorry to see so many others suffering from the same. And some people reported getting 10+ migraines/headaches a month, WOW. I've gotten perhaps 10 total in about 2 years, so I can't complain. But this has made me value being "aligned" and stress-free more than ever. It makes no sense trying to get all fit and strong if it's at the same time ruining our daily lives. Just a thought. So for some of us it is perhaps smarter to workout with a little less intensity.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:37 AM   #12
Andrea Kirk
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Re: Exercise Induced Headache?

I get those too, mostly during pushups and it seems to be worse in the summer. Are you prone to migraines by any chance? Or Raynaud's Syndrome?
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:40 AM   #13
Andrea Kirk
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Re: Exercise Induced Headache?

Sorry, that was not addressed to the post immediately above. Of people who get exercise-induced headaches, do you have a history of migraine or Raynaud's syndrome?
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:53 PM   #14
Arturo Garcia
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Re: Exercise Induced Headache?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrea Kirk View Post
Sorry, that was not addressed to the post immediately above. Of people who get exercise-induced headaches, do you have a history of migraine or Raynaud's syndrome?
Not me. All of my migraines have come after a workout. I am nearly certain it's muscle tension somewhere, and almost as certain that stress affects tension in one of the responsible places. Sorry it doesn't say much.

I never knew what a migraine was up until about 1-2 years ago when I got my first one after a WOD. The best way to describe it is "oh please someone just kill me so I stop feeling this".
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