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swollpatrol 09-25-2007 04:13 PM

head injury
i have not been able to lift heavy for the past few days because of a pain inside my head. i only feel it when i lift heavy. it feels like a head ache but in the top middle of my head and a little to the left. when i lift heavy the pain gets so bad that i have to sit down and stop lifting. i have been doing high reps which dont make my head hurt as bad. does anyone know what this is?

EricT 09-25-2007 04:39 PM

These are exertional headaches. They are usually benign. They are somewhat load related but they can also be volume related. In other words they have to do with how much you exert yourself. Breathing can play a role, so if you hold your breath that can lead to them but if you get them it does not mean that you have held your breath. Posturing of the neck (like jutting your chin forward) can also be a factor. Always try to keep the neck neutrally aligned.

Since you have it right now you will pretty much need to take a break or it won't go away. I'd say at least 3 or 4 days or else you're going to find it wanting to return. Basically a feeling like your about to get the pain and then if you keep pushing it all of a sudden your in agony. So take a break to let it get better then you'll want to probably drop the weight and the volume a bit and build back up.

You may feel it wanting to return at first. Breathing can help. One trick is if you feel it starting to come back (even with the ligher weights or whatever) pause at the top of the rep and take some very quick little puffing breaths. Like women do when they're having babies. I'm not kidding :biglaugh:. This may help re-equalize the intra-cranial blood pressure. It used to work for me like a charm.

Once you have managed to get the weights going again and as long as you don't overdo it, after a little bit you should be past it and you won't have to worry about it for the most part unless you make sudden huge changes in weight or volume.

If it's hurting all the time right now go ahead and take something for the pain. It should at least take the edge off.

Oh, and try not to go up and down too fast on things like squats or deads.

If this doesn't go away in a few days or keep coming back, see a doctor!

jwright715 09-26-2007 08:52 AM

^^ exactly what he said. Theyre breathing related, and are common during more intense excercises.

If you start getting them, take some breaths between the reps, get air back to the brain.

EricT 09-26-2007 10:02 AM

Yes, bro, but they don't really mean there is always something wrong with your breathing. You definitely need to pay attention to not holding breath if you get them, but they are blood pressure related....i.e. they have to do with very large and sudden changes in blood pressure while lifting heavy loads. There is a overcompensation in the head to protect against this and that leads to the pain. But, yeah, the breathing in between helps :)

jwright715 09-26-2007 10:40 AM

I used to get these types of headaches on ME squats and deads. And i found a few deep breaths inbetween reps helped. It was sort of a pain, and messed with the tempo of my lift..but it hfixed it, so i really cant complain.

EricT 09-26-2007 11:40 AM

I understand. But it depends on the severity. If they are full-fledged exertional headaches it is like a migraine on steroids. NOTHING you can do once they come on full force. If you get them bad you will be primed for it and it will behoove anyone to take a little time off before getting back into it. Then reduce the load and/or volume plus use the breathing if you feel it coming on.

Frontline 09-26-2007 01:57 PM

I agree with Eric as far as it being an exertional type headache. We have quite a few threads on the boards about them and basically slowing down and watching your breathing usually helps prevent them.

Taking a step back in the meantime for a week or two until they go away completely is also a good idea. You don't have to stop lifting, but maybe just decrease the load. If you feel any sign of them coming on during the lift I would stop as you will just be setting yourself up for some pain.

I have personally had them during heavy deads and can tell you that they aren't fun, especially when it feels like someone punched you in the back of the head. Also if I still went at it full force during my next session they would have a much higher tendency to pop up as compared to stepping back for a week or two.

EricT 09-26-2007 02:43 PM

^^^Same here. I meant what Sleazy said about dropping the things that are causing it not necessarily everything, btw. Although when mine first happened the pain was so bad I couldn't do ANYTHING.

Here's a couple of the threads:

I just searched headaches to find them so the word headache is highligted a million times. Sorry about that.

Someone mentioned having headaches that are trap related. Those are not exertional headaches per se but it has to do with the posturing of the neck and things that I mentioned before.

Seems like every damn thing that can go wrong has gone wrong for me at some point so I'll describe one other type of headache that is related to the trap thing. It's also related to grip.

I've gotten headaches doing Romanian deadlifts. I go very balls to the wall with those and use high reps. This is the only time where I have problems with grip giving out becasue of the sheer amount of time involved holding the heavy the extra amount of time needed for me to re-rack the weight becasue of my awkward setup. I would have my one or both traps go funky and my neck start to involuntarily posture at the end as I was trying to hold on. But it was related to the grip giving out rather than just the traps. There is some type of nerve interaction involved in this so when you try to hold on to a weight and the grip is giving the traps and neck seize up and it leads to a headache. It never happened with straps for grip, btw. So that is just an example of weird shit that can happen (just an anecdote).

Also, I would sometimes tend to get going up and down too fast and this would start to bring on the exertional headaches. I think Sleazy might have mentioned something similar in regards to deads at some point.

swollpatrol 09-26-2007 06:00 PM

thanks for the help

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