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Headache After Exercising: Potential Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

After a workout, it is normally expected to feel good all over your body, thanks to the release of endorphins (which are feel-good hormones). However, sometimes these good feelings may not last long, and may be replaced by a headache that leaves you grounded for several hours. This headache is not always serious, but could instead be a result of something simple, in which case it will be easy to treat. This type of headache is called a primary exertional headache. The so-called secondary exertional headache is likewise triggered by exercise, but it may be due to more serious underlying conditions, like a tumor or a sinus infection, among other things. Secondary exertional headaches are accompanied by other symptoms, such as vision problems, vomiting, neck stiffness, and congestion.

Potential causes of a headache after exercise

An exertion headache may be mistaken for workout-induced migraines, which also result from vigorous exercise. Their symptoms may also be similar: throbbing pain in the head, nausea, and higher sensitivity to light. A physical exertion headache may last from 5 minutes to a few hours. Some possible causes of primary exertion headaches include:

Low blood sugar

Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia can cause a headache after working out. Blood sugar refers to glucose. If you skip a meal or do not eat enough food before a workout, you may suffer low glucose levels, leading to a headache. In addition to eating well, you may consider supplementing your food with some beneficial steroids from Steroid Seller to help with muscle development, weight management, and faster recovery, among other benefits.


Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than it is taking in. While running and doing other activities, you lose fluids through sweating, and if you did not drink enough fluids before starting the exercises, your body may be dehydrated. Some signs of mild dehydration are a headache, dizziness, fatigue, intensified sense of thirst, dry mouth and skin, reduced urine production, constipation, and fewer tears. Severe dehydration can result in low blood pressure, rapid breathing, increased heartbeat, fever, reduced sweating, seizure, and death.

Too much exposure to the sun

Sun exposure, especially when it is hot, can trigger a headache for the majority of people, even when they are not working out.

Upper body tension

The upper back and neck muscles may tighten up, thereby pulling the muscles of the head and resulting in a headache.

Increased pressure in the head

Strenuous exercises may cause expansion of blood vessels in the brain over a prolonged duration, resulting in a headache in the form of pounding pain, which may last from 5 minutes to a few days. Some exercises that may cause this are intense cardio and weightlifting.

Prevention and treatment

Stay hydrated: Ensure that you drink enough water throughout the day and as you work out to replace what you lose through sweating. Be aware of signs of dehydration, and at the earliest notice, reach for room temperature water and rehydrate.

Eat responsibly: Fuel your body with a meal a few hours before the exercise. When this is not possible, eat some easily digestible carbs, such as a banana or some juice, before starting to power through. Also, check that you are getting the right amounts of magnesium daily, as it helps to balance blood sugar.

Moderate your workouts: If your headache tends to be mild or to build gradually, do a proper warmup before the exercise or havea a routine in which the workout keeps increasing in length or intensity for a long period, like several months, to level off the heightened pressure that causes headaches.

Stretch your neck: The appropriate warmup and posture, which especially include stretching the neck, can prevent the muscles from getting too tense during workouts.

Some treatment for exertion headaches include:

  •         If an exertion headache occurs despite taking the necessary precautions, you could take over-the-counter pain relievers to minimize tension and pain. However, you should not take the pain relievers too often, like over three times a week, as they may cause a headache instead of relieving it.
  •         You may drink a beverage that has a lot of electrolytes, like sports drinks and coconut water, as soon as the symptoms set in. If the symptoms are severe, stop your workout and rest until they subside.
  •         See your physician if the headaches result in vomiting, double vision, fainting, and other extreme symptoms. These symptoms indicate other problems, like a tumor, infections, and bleeding in the brain, which could lead to death if not attended to immediately.

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