In many instances exercise is a good way for people with headaches and migraines to cope, but for some, exercise may actually trigger a debilitating headache. Exercise headaches, sometimes called exertional headaches, occur during or after sustained or strenuous exercise.1 Some activities associated with exercise-induced headaches include weightlifting, cycling, running, and rowing. A primary exercise headache is usually described as a throbbing-type pain that, in most cases, affects both sides of the head. These headaches can last anywhere between five minutes and 48 hours after a bout of strenuous exercise. As with many headache types, the exact cause of primary exercise headaches is unknown. Some research theorizes a connection between the strenuous nature of some types of exercise and the dilation of blood vessels within the head. The strenuous nature of some sports can also cause muscle spasms in the upper body, neck, and head that can bring on a headache.1
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An important factor to consider if you are experiencing headaches following your exercise routine is whether or not the underlying structure of your spine can be causing the issue. Why would two people be able to perform the same exercise, but only one walk away with a severe headache? The answer may lie in the position of the uppermost vertebrae in the next – your atlas (C1) and axis (C2). When these bones shift out of position, like a kink at the top a chain, it affects the way the rest of the vertebrae below are able to move and function. Headache expert Dr. Barone has been helping headache sufferers in Schaumburg get natural relief by correcting misalignments of these two vertebrae. Upper cervical chiropractors specialize in this area of the spine. If enjoying exercise without the fear of developing a crippling headache afterward is a priority, having proper structural alignment of your upper cervical vertebrae is not an option you can afford to miss.
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- Mayo Clinic. Exercise headaches. [homepage on the Internet]. 2015 [cited 2015 Jul 6]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/exercise-headaches/basics/definition/con-20025221