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After Exercise Headache
a Growing Problem

After exercise headache is nothing new ... despite what most of the literature indicates.

More than 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates noted a connection between headache and exercise:

"One should be able to recognize those who have headaches from gymnastic exercises or running or walking or hunting or any other unseasonable labor," he said.

While 90% of men and 95% or women experience headaches, until recently, if you couldn't label your headache a migraine, or tension-related, it was just an ailment to be shrugged off.

In fact, a recent survey found over 70 percent of headache sufferers, especially with migraine, can lessen the frequency and severity of their headaches with exercise, so that was the usual prescription once drugs were found ineffective.

But as Hippocrates noted, in some people, exercise triggers headaches.

Headaches are often experienced by weight lifters and wrestlers placing their bodies under heavy strain, but athletes in many more sports are beginning to complain.

Sport and after exercise headaches have been medically recognized only since the 1980s. Approximately, 30% of university students appear to experience such headaches and their frequency appears to rise with age until about the age of 60.

After exercise headaches are being reported more and more commonly around the globe - and many doctors don't appear to know why or what causes the problem.

The most obvious cause (after your normal 'tension' headaches) is dehydration, and adequate fluid intake before, during and after exercise (if practical) usually solves the problem.

  • Exertional headaches - generally from isometric/weight lifting type exercise, and
  • Effort headaches - the most common exercise headache, and the type most often seen in other sports.

Exertional headaches can stress vascular systems, causing throbbing and muscular spasms. They can be treated with intravenous dihydroergotamine mesylate.

Effort headaches are usually a throbbing, mild to severe pain, a little like migraine. They can be successfully treated with Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

It's important to monitor the after exercise headache and the circumstances and treatment reactions. If simple remedies are not successful, make sure you seek further medical study.

Trauma to the head and neck, for instance, can lead to post traumatic headache. Other headache syndromes in athletes include cervicogenic headache, goggle headache, diver's headache, and altitude headache.

Accurate diagnosis of the exercise-induced headache will help your doctor direct appropriate treatment.

after exercise headache is one of the symptoms that can simply 'go away' when you supplement your fitness program with a routine for taking in additional fluids