Do you shy away from exercise because you’re worried it may trigger a headache? Do you want to live an active lifestyle but are simply afraid that exercise may mean a migraine episode? 

This is a dilemma for many individuals: the desire to be active and healthy on one hand and the fear of headaches and head pain on the other. 

Many people suffering from chronic headaches and head pain are in this predicament. Head pain affects not only how active they can be, but can also negatively affect everything from work to relationships and spending time with family and friends. 

So, is the solution merely sitting it out?

We don’t think so! Sitting on the sidelines is not the way to experience life. There is a solution to this dilemma, and that solution is getting the quality care you need that finds the source of your headaches or migraines and gets you back to active living. 

The Importance of Exercise

You have probably heard that regular exercise, particularly aerobic exercise (the kind that raises your heart rate and helps you move large muscles), is beneficial to your overall health because it enables you to maintain a healthy weight while keeping your heart healthy and your joints functioning correctly, too. For some individuals, regular exercise can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines and headaches.

As we said, many people avoid the gym because their headache pain prevents them from working out or because exercise is a trigger for migraines. 

But avoiding exercise isn’t the answer, and it isn’t healthy for you either. We’ve compiled a few tips to help prevent a workout-related migraine.

Drink water. Many people underestimate the importance of hydration – being dehydrated can cause migraine or head pain! But this doesn’t mean you should chug water only during your workout. You actually need to hydrate before, during and after a workout session. Tip: The color of your urine can tell you if you’re hydrated. Darker urine means you need to drink more water. If your pee is light yellow or clear, you’re getting enough water.

Eat. Your body needs fuel to help you power through a workout, and eating healthy starches and sugars gives you energy. This is critical because exercise can make your blood sugar dip and cause a migraine or headache. Tip: Be sure to eat at least one to four hours before your workout, and choose complex carbohydrates and protein. 

Warm up and cool down. We recommend increasing your workout intensity gradually. Take the time to warm up, and then raise your intensity level slowly. Jumping into sudden or very intense activity may trigger a headache. Tip: If you’re going for a jog, we recommend warming up with a five- to 10-minute walk first and then slowly increasing speed until you reach your exercise pace. If lifting weights is your thing, we recommend warming up with some whole-body cardio, then doing a warm-up weight set before moving into your first training set. 

After your workout, we recommend taking at least five minutes to cool down. Walking and gentle stretching are great ways to lower your heart rate and avoid having a post-workout headache. 

Know your triggers. If heat tends to cause headaches, working out outside in the summer may not be the best idea. High-impact exercise a trigger? You may want to switch to a low-impact routine. 

Take notes. We recommend that you journal your workouts, meals, water intake and sleep to determine what helps (or hurts) your ability to stay active and see if you notice a pattern of headache causes. Some individuals find that high-impact workouts are triggers, while others find that weightlifting is the culprit. 

Find the Cause of Daily Headaches

Living with the pain of daily headaches is not living your best life. If headaches are holding you back from working out and being active, we recommend that you call the Bend Headache Center to discover the cause of your head pain and find out how we can help get you out of pain and back to living the high-quality life you deserve. 

Common causes of headaches include:

  • Postural problems
  • Developmental disorders
  • Stress
  • Airway issues 
  • Bite malocclusion/TMJ imbalance
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Injury, i.e., car accidents/whiplash
  • Sinus issues 
  • Poor nutritional habits  

In most cases, migraines and cluster headaches are caused by muscle imbalances of the entire head and neck region. If you have such an imbalance, you might notice other indicators such as dizziness, neck pain, tinnitus, ear congestion, popping and clicking of your jaw joint, bruxism (clenching/grinding of your teeth), forward head posture, tingling in your fingertips, insomnia, and facial pain.

Call the Bend Headache Center today to schedule your consultation and learn about our treatment options for headaches and migraines.