Getting a bad headache after working out sucks. And if it is something that happens consistently, it is obviously a problem. In this article, we are going to discuss different things that you can try in order to relieve or prevent these types of headaches.
Headaches are terrible, and unfortunately big pharma gets the idea in our head that all we need to do when we have a headache is take a pill and poof, the headache is gone.
Pharmaceuticals should be the last resort here. I am going to teach you methods that you can actually use to get rid of the headaches.
Before we get started, I urge you to download our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). Imagine your life in better shape than you have ever been. That is what you will accomplish with our app.
Drinking enough water to prevent headaches
This seems kind of weird to assert, but being dehydrated is one of the major causes of headaches. It is very important to stay hydrated.
This is because when you are dehydrated, your blood is going to stay near your most vital organs. What is your most vital organ in your body? Your heart. So when you are dehydrated, your body automatically knows where its liquids need to stay.
Blood is one of those liquids, and drinking water is essential to maintaining blood flow.
How can we ensure that we drink enough water? There are plenty of ways to ensure that you are getting enough water. I even wrote a blog post about how to trick yourself into drinking more water.
Essentially, you can drink room temperature water, use larger straws, try some water flavorings, measure out your water, make it a game, etc…
Lucky for me, I am not the type that doesn’t like drinking water. I love it! But, I still need to measure it. I drink at least a gallon of water per day. And I use a stainless steel Gallon RTIC jug. You can buy it from Amazon.
The point here is that water is completely necessary in headache prevention. If you are not drinking enough water, this should be your first step in determining what the problem is.
My doctor once told me that my urine should always be either clear or pale yellow if I am properly hydrated. So if it is dark yellow, that is a good sign you are dehydrated.
Tension headaches are a major issue
Tension headaches are what happens to some people when they have tight muscles. I know this because my wife is one of them and of course she always asks for a massage when she gets a tension headache.
I am happy to say that I don’t get tension headaches, but for her, it sometimes happens after a back or a shoulder workout.
Your muscles tighten up or get sore, which pulls on muscles up your neck and into your head. This is of course what causes the tension headaches. And they can be very bad sometimes.
My strategy for my wife is to give her a massage when she is having these headaches. 99% of the time, this is all she needs, and boom the headache is gone.
Unfortunately, not all of us have a significant other to give us massages at will. And I am not always around when my wife gets these headaches. That is why I bought her a massage gun from Amazon.
If you have never used a massage gun, I highly recommend it. For those that balk at the price, I want you to consider the price of a massage. In the United States, I would spend $70-$80 for a one hour massage BEFORE tip. So essentially it is $100 per massage after all is said and done.
With that being said, you can have a massage gun for about the same price. And we have literally used that massage gun over 100 times now.
Do yourself a favor and find a way to massage your back and shoulders. It could be the main reason you are having a bad headache after working out.
Make sure you are sleeping enough
It is true that lack of sleep catches up to us in every single aspect of our lives. Human beings need 7+ hours of sleep every single night. I have met people who claim to only need 4 hours of sleep per night, but it always catches up to them.
It is not sustainable to sleep under 7 hours per night. And if you are sleeping under 7 hours per night, this might be something that you want to audit in your life.
Personally, I sleep on average 9 hours per night, and I find it quite sufficient.
When you don;t get enough sleep, your body has to work harder in order to produce white blood cells and perform vital functions. This ultimately tires you out more.
Naturally, this is going to lead to more stress. When you workout, your body is going to prioritize nutrients to your muscles. And if your body is running on little sleep, that means less nutrients and functions to your head.
It’s easy to see why lack of sleep can give us headaches, especially if we are working out. Here is what I want you to do. Get 7+ hours of sleep for a week straight. After a week, let’s see if your headaches subside.
If they don’t, combine everything else in this list and see if that helps.
Don’t skip meals
This might be one of the most interesting aspects of getting a bad headache after working out. Why? Because when we are working out, we are either eating at a caloric surplus or a caloric deficit.
If we are eating at a caloric surplus, I would think that it is less likely that we get a headache. The most likely cause of getting a headache would be due to a caloric deficit.
If you are skipping meals in order to fulfill this caloric deficit, that could be the issue.
Your body needs calories to function. And don’t get me wrong, eating at a caloric deficit is my number 1 recommended way to lose fat. You cannot lose belly fat in a caloric surplus.
But, some people take these deficits too far, and either skip meals or go way below their necessary caloric maintenance.
To find out how far under your caloric maintenance you are eating, learn how to calculate your maintenance calories. From there, you can see how far under or over your maintenance you are eating.
This is a major help because some people eat significantly under their maintenance calories in order to lose weight rapidly. This might show signs of success at first, but it is not sustainable.
If you are eating at a caloric deficit, I recommend only going 500 calories below your maintenance calories per day.
If you are eating 1,500 calories per day under maintenance, that could be the reason you are experiencing a bad headache after working out. We don’t want to restrict our calories so much that our vital organs are not getting the nutrients that they need.
Main Point: Bad headache after working out
I know it is a lot to take in, but if you are experiencing a bad headache after working out, this article should be able to help you.
One of my biggest tips is to make sure that you are drinking enough water in order to be fully hydrated. Remember that if your water is clear or pale yellow, you are hydrated enough. Anything else is not good.
We can’t forget about the possibility that your headaches are muscle related. If you are experiencing any sort of head tension, definitely try the massage route. And I know that not everyone has a significant other laying around ready to give a massage at will. There are other solutions for that.
Sleeping is also very important. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, make sure that becomes a priority.
Lastly, be careful about how many calories you are consuming. If you are at a caloric deficit that is too low, a headache might be a sign from your body that you are not eating enough.
Being in a caloric deficit is perfectly ok, but if it goes too far, that is when it becomes an issue.
I feel like I just have to mention that I am not a doctor. All of these tips came from extensive research and personal experience.