Headaches Upon Exertion: Causes And How To Get Rid Of It?

If you develop a sudden headache while exercising or when you exert yourself, it could be a primary headache. On the other hand, some headaches occur as a consequence to medical problems, which may be life threatening in certain cases.

Exertion headaches come on during or after constant, exhausting exercise. Some activities associated with headache are – running, tennis, rowing, swimming and weight-lifting.

Exertion headaches are of 2 types.

  • Primary headaches – these are normally quite harmless, and are not associated with any underlying medical issue and can often be effectively managed with medications.
  • Secondary headaches – occur due to an underlying condition in your body, such as bleeding or a tumor in the brain or coronary artery disease. Secondary exertion headaches need emergency medical aid.

Primary exercise headaches

  • The headache is of a throbbing type.
  • Comes on during or after constant exercise.
  • Afflicts both sides of the head.
  • Lasts from 5 minutes to 2 days.

Secondary exercise headaches

  • Throbbing pain in the head.
  • Develops during or after strenuous continuous exercise.
  • Lasts from 1 day to 15 days.
  • Vomiting
  • Double vision
  • Rigidity in the neck
  • Unconsciousness

What Causes Headaches Upon Exertion?

The precise cause for the development of a primary exercise headache is unknown.

One theory postulates that laborious exercise dilates the blood vessels inside the skull and sets off a headache.

Secondary exercise headaches are triggered by an underlying medical issue:

  • Haemorrhage in the area between the brain and the meninges.
  • An anomaly in a blood vessel in the brain.
  • Tumor mass in the brain – benign or malignant.
  • Obstruction to the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid.
  • An infection of the sinuses.
  • Structural anomalies in the head, neck or spine.

How To Get Rid Of Exertion Headaches Naturally?

In case there is no underlying structural or vascular problem that is the cause of your headache, your health care provider will advise medicines to take regularly to help prevent the headaches. He will prescribe you an anti-inflammatory or a blood pressure medicine to manage your symptoms. Follow-ups are important.

  • Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory natural remedy. It helps deal with a primary exertion headache very well. Gingerols in the ginger root help battle the pain; have a glass of ginger tea half an hour prior to your exercise routine.
  • If your exercise headaches are expected, talk to your doctor and take the suitable medication an hour before a scheduled event, such as a tennis match or a hike at high altitude. In case the headaches are everyday and / or erratic, you might need to take the preventive medicine daily.
  • Exercise related headaches are commoner in the hot and humid weather, or when you exercise at high altitudes. If you are susceptible to exercise related headaches, you should stay away from exercising in these conditions.
  • Some people have a headache only when they perform certain activities, so they could prevent the headache by steering clear of these activities. A warm-up before starting strenuous exercise also prevents exercise headaches.
  • Massages are exceedingly beneficial as well. Have schedules for a neck and back massage at least twice a week. It will proffer immense relief. Be sure to go to a licensed masseur though.