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Tony Brail 03-18-2013 09:33 AM

Neck pain causing headaches
We'll live pretty much pinpointed that my injury was caused by me doing heavy front squats and looking up at the ceiling instead of straight ahead. Had a massive headache that caused me to drop my bar as I racked it and have had a pretty consistent heqdache since. About a month now. I've had massages that did not help and went to doctor today who recommended me quitting crossfit and he wants to X-ray my spine for precaution. Anyone else had this issue and is just time off remedy? I really don't want to take time off. I'm 6 months in and down 30lbs and really love the workouts and the open.

Alastair Bland 12-28-2014 11:39 AM

Re: Neck pain causing headaches
Hi Tony - How did this episode play out? I am having issues with headaches. They occur immediately after pullups. They start in the back of the head and move forward to the forehead. If you have any wisdom to share, I'm listening. Thanks,

Miles Roberts 12-29-2014 12:13 PM

Re: Neck pain causing headaches
This might not help you guys, but I've had experience with headaches caused (I think) by neck stiffness. The thing that works best for me is lacrosse ball work on my upper back. I mean dedicate some time, 15-20 minutes, a few times a day. I work hard to get deep into the muscles that run along the spine, from about the bottom of the shoulder blade up to the base of my neck. For me, it helps to lay on the lacrosse ball on the gym floor and move around very slowly cautiously. When its really bad, I'll put a kettlebell on my chest above the ball to increase the pressure on whatever muscle is getting worked. Oddly, massaging/stretching my neck seems to do nothing at all to cure it, but this helps.

Alastair Bland 12-30-2014 12:47 PM

Re: Neck pain causing headaches
Thanks Miles. That might help me. What kind of headaches were these? Did they resemble mine, which begin in the back of the head and eventually move to the forehead/eye socket? Mine is only on the left side, too.


Mike Cho 01-05-2015 04:22 PM

Re: Neck pain causing headaches
I had something similar happen after doing a wod with overhead squats. In the middle of an overhead squat, I experienced this painful headache which I've never felt before.

I tried seeing a chiropractor but didn't resolve anything. I just avoided overhead squats for a while and it just eventually went away. I haven't experienced this since then. From my research, I think this is what they call 'exertion headaches'.

Miles Roberts 01-06-2015 01:37 PM

Re: Neck pain causing headaches
Alastair, yeah. Starts with a stiff neck and radiates up till my whole head just hurts.

Shannon Pettit 01-07-2015 04:22 PM

Re: Neck pain causing headaches
Sounds like it could be an exertion headache. Good article on the subject (WFS): [URL=""][/URL]

Got my first raging mid-WOD exertion headache in November during death by front squats. (I'd had mild post-WOD headaches a handful of times in the past.) Took over a week for the residual headache to go away--I felt hungover.

Tried to do a WOD about 2 weeks post-headache and it flared up again during toes to bar.

Per the recommendation of my GP, I got an MRI with contrast to rule out anything serious. Everything came back normal.

Following the advice of the article, I gave myself a couple more weeks off, then started walking on the treadmill at home, then did a a few weeks on the rower to start pushing my heart rate back up. Just before Christmas I started doing WODs again at about 50%. Took a couple of weeks off for the holidays, we'll see how it goes.

I've also had massages, chiro, and acupuncture.

One of the coaches at my box had them too, and it can be a long slow road to recovery. It's frustrating because you want to rush and push yourself, but this is one situation where that can put you right back a square one.

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