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Exercise and Headaches – What’s the Connection?

A woman exercising for headache relief

Exercise is one of the most beneficial things that a person can do for the body. But headaches can result in some unwanted side effects because of how workouts affect a person’s muscles, tissues, ligaments, and brain.

Some people are concerned about getting an endorphin headache due to exercise, but endorphins are actually a great way to fight headaches naturally.

Here is some information about the connection between exercise and headaches to help individuals exercise safely and prevent unwanted pain and pressure. With a better understanding about this connection, it is possible to maximize the benefits of exercise while avoiding the risk of subsequent pain.

The Endorphin Headache Connection

When a person exercises, the body releases natural chemicals called endorphins and also enkephalins. Endorphins are considered to be natural painkillers, and enkephalins are natural anti-depressants. In addition to the release of these chemicals during periods of activity, exercise also helps to reduce physical bodily stresses and relieve muscle tension through repetitive movements and stretching.

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Ways to Stop a Headache During Exercise

In some people, exercise can be a trigger for headaches. This may because a person has not eaten properly before exercising, is dehydrated, or isn’t prepared for the level of intensity being attempted. When a headache begins during exercise, slowly decrease the level of intensity or take a break to see if the headache subsides on its own. If it does not, stop exercising immediately and practice deep breathing exercises to get an adequate supply of oxygen to the brain.

How to Help a Headache After Exercise

Exercise-related headaches can typically be treated in a similar way to other types of headaches, including rest, applying cold packs to the head, and over-the-counter medications. Vanquish is a highly recommended headache relief medication that’s available without a prescription and can fight tough headaches caused by exercise. Since exercises drains the body’s supply of nutrients, it may also help to eat a nutrient-rich meal with fresh fruits and vegetables after workouts to relieve head pain.

Avoiding exercise entirely is not a good solution for preventing exercise-induced headaches because working out is so beneficial to all parts of the body and mind. However, it may be necessary to choose a different form of exercise if one type regularly results in head pain. For example, if the high impact of running tends to cause headaches, perhaps it’s time to try cycling, swimming, dance fitness classes, or another form of cardio instead. The important thing is to find exercises that are enjoyable and keep the body active, strong, and flexible.

Exercise for Migraine Relief

It is very interesting that exercise can lead to headaches, but it is also an effective strategy in relieving headaches too. Exercise for migraine relief is often recommended by doctors as a great way to release the body’s natural painkillers. To utilize exercise as part of a migraine prevention strategy, make sure to stay well-hydrated before, during, and after workouts. It is also recommended to eat a small meal an hour or two before exercising to keep the blood sugar levels up and prevent cramping. Warm-up and cool-down exercises are a very important part of any workout, so always make sure to gradually ramp up and back down again to ease the body into and out of intense exercise.

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