Exertion headache is often called exercise headaches, it involves pain during or after physical activity. They last a few minutes to two days, although this headache usually has no underlying cause, it is important you talk to a health provider to make sure that you are not at any risk of any other health issues. Though treatment for this kind of headache is similar to other headaches, and certain strategies may help you prevent them.
An overview of exertion headache
An exertion headache (also known as exercise headache) involves pain during or immediately after physical activity. It comes quickly and goes away immediately in a few minutes or hours, but can last as long as a couple of days. But there’s usually no underlying disease or disorder.
Exertional headaches can be either primary or secondary:
- Primary exertional headache happens for unknown reasons, but some experts think it could be related to the narrowing of your blood vessels that happens when you exercise.
- Secondary exertional headache are similarly triggered by physical activities, but this response may be due to an underlying condition. This underlying condition can be from a simple range of sinus infection or a tumor. It is important to know that secondary exertional headaches usually come with other symptoms such as:
- Neck stiffness
- Vision issues
Causes of Exertional Headaches
- Dehydration: Not replacing fluid during or after exercise may cause dehydration. Water and electrolytes keep the body hydrated, and people loose both of these through sweating. When a person is dehydrated, they may develop a headache.
Other symptoms of dehydration include:
- Feeling thirsty
- Feeling irritable
- Dark yellow urine
- Dry mouth or lip
- Producing less urine than usual.
- Tension Headache: A tension headache is a common type of headache, muscle tension from exercising or incorrect posture during exercise can cause these headaches. People who experience stress may also develop
Some symptoms include:
- Pain that often affect both sides of the head
- Mild to moderate pain
- Pain in the neck and back of the head
- Pain that can be either dull ache or a vice-like band around the head.
- Exercising during heat: Exercising in a hot weather or direct sunlight can trigger a headache and migraine. Increased heat level can cause excess sweating which can lead to dehydration. Bright sunlight may also act as trigger for headache and migraines.
- Low blood sugar: If you do not eat before exercising, these can lead to headache due to low blood sugar levels. Exercise burns calories and if there is no enough calories before exercising, the blood sugar level can drop. When you eat carbohydrate, the body convert them to glucose, the brain in particular relies on a constant supply of glucose to perform properly. If the brain lacks enough glucose, it can cause some symptoms including headaches.
Here is how to prevent headaches after exercising, one of the best ways to prevent exercise induce headaches is to avoid the activities that triggers them.
- Avoid exercising in extreme temperatures, too hot or too cold
- Don’t work-out in altitude you are not use to
- Make sure to stay hydrated, drink plenty of water, so that you are well hydrated.
- Get enough rest every day, including eight hours of sleep.
- Warm up and cool down properly and build intensity slowly over time.
- Mix up your exercise routine. Try another type of activity and see if it triggers headache.
- Eat a healthy diet, and avoid processed food or food with preservatives.
Most exercise -related headaches can easily be treated at home, but sometimes these may be due to a sign of an underlying condition. Some simple preventive measures should help with your headache, but if they aren’t feeling better, it is time to go and see your health provider for more help.