Wellness Wednesday: Yes, Exercise Headaches are a Thing

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I've been lucky to have rarely had experiences with real, sustained headaches that weren't obviously related to dehydration or some kind of sinus problem.  Given my luck, I have definitely noticed the repetitive throbbing pain across my forehead and pulsing at the base of my skull, always after a strenuous workout, always appearing for the first time as I was standing in the shower rinsing off.  It was a little bewildering and pounding water to try to ensure that I was definitely.not.dehydrated just meant that I ended up drinking so much water I felt sick.  Ignore the headache for a little while and it would go away.

Since I'm a little bit of a hypochondriac, I've been worrying a little bit about the headaches: is my brain going to explode?  What is causing this?  Is it something about the shower?

Turns out, it's probably something about the exercise.  I was relieved to read today that, yes, exercise headaches are a thing, even when you're hydrated.  The hypothesis, although unconfirmed, is that your blood flow to your brain is different during a sustained, intense workout.  Okay, so I'm not crazy and I'm not dying.  In my case, the headaches aren't bad enough or sustained enough, that I feel like I really need to make any type of change.  The experts, of course, recommend seeing a doctor, just to make sure it is exercise-induced.  Assuming the headache is, they suggest substituting a lighter workout some days of the week.


  1. I have had intense headaches after a workout before, most I have written off as being dehydrated. In truth I do drink enough water that I should not be. I have never really heard of this before, even though I have experienced it. Nice to know I'm not alone, and now I will probably do more research to learn more about it.

  2. Oh wow I've never heard of this before! Hope you can get this worked out- headaches are no fun!