Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Headaches and running -- Any advice?

Hi -- I've been plagued by migraines in the past. Not all the time, luckily, but enough. Every once in a while, I'd have a terrible, terrible migraine after a summer race or hard run. For the past two years, however, I hadn't had one at all -- until about two months ago when I started having them again. I had a seriously awful one after my last 5k (run on a fairly hot morning). Now, every time I go for a run when it is hot, I get anxious -- nervous that I'm going to end up with a migraine.

My question is -- have any of you experienced post-race (or hard run) migraines? Have you been able to do anything to mitigate the pain? To reduce the frequency? Have you felt nervous that you'll have another attack and, if so, what have you been able to do to reduce those feelings?

I love, love, love running -- especially in the summer. It is just such a part of who I am and the thought of having to give it up because of migraines -- or live with migraines because I want to run -- makes me so very bummed.

(I certainly may be over-reacting because I've only had the one really bad attack recently. But, I just want to do whatever I can to avoid any sort of running induced migraines. They really, really are that bad.)

Thanks for any help!

-- Felice

13 comments:

tifferbob said...

I've experienced similar headaches after running. Usually when I haven't properly hydrated.

Hannah said...

Like tifferbob- I get them when I am not hydrated enough. I seem to get them more on the hotter days and finally figured out what the culprit was. So I start drinking water the minute I get up and then go for our run. It helps! Hopefully you find something that works!

foxontherun said...

I agree I have found even when not running I seem to have more headaches when I haven't been consuming my 8-10 glasses a day.

Ang said...

Ditto Ditto Ditto. Hydration!! I hope it solves your headaches problems, it did mine!! Let us know if the increase in liquids works!

The Happy Runner said...

I'll seem pretty pathetic if it is that simple, huh? But, I guess it is possible, considering I'm not the best water drinker. I usually think I've hydrated enough before a run, but there is a good chance I haven't! I've given myself a goal to drink more water overall so I will try to really pump up the amount before any runs.

Thanks a lot!

aaronandsharla said...

I always get headaches in the heat when I run- even when I am hydrated. It usually sticks around afterwards, and I take some tylenol and drink and drink! Then I feel fine. Good Luck!

staci-d said...

Interesting! I get headaches after I run too but I have never thought of why i get them! I bet hydration has a lot to do with it. I am awful about drinking water! Thanks for asking that question, I need to put it to the test, my headaches come and go too, I have just thought that it is related to how I run with to much tention in my shoulders.

linzipoo said...

Delurking here...

I get headaches too from not hydrating properly. North Carolina's heat and humidity is terrible so I really have to keep an eye on my water intake. Sadly, consumption of my beloved soft drink beverages has needfully been eliminated.

Also, I've implemented extra stretches for my neck and shoulders after long runs and throughout the day afterwards (I run in the mornings).

Hope it helps.

lilrunner73 said...

I have dealt with headaches too on hot runs before. I believe hydration wass a big issue like everyone else said.

Another thing I noticed though is that I squint in the bright sun and I felt like that might have been part of my headaches post run. So now I always run with a lightweight runners cap or visor and sunglasses. I think that has helped me a bunch because I rarely get headaches now. Another benefit is protecting my skin from the brutal sun. :)

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I also get post-run headaches. After a 15+ mile run I can count on a headache the next day. I hydrate plenty and have wondered if it is also a muscle tension thing (I DO stretch my shoulder area, hoping it might help).

I have tried ibuprofen prior to a long run, but that has not helped.

Maybe it is a coincidence, but twice I started my long runs with a headache. Both times I took an Excedrin prior to the run, and both times not only did the headache go away, but I avoided the horrible post-run migraine.

The Happy Runner said...

Lilrunner73 -- I never thought about sunglasses! I've been running in the sun for years without them. I just snagged mu hubbie's sunglasses and plan to start running with them (until I get my own pair, that is!). Thanks for that tip.

Anonymous said...

I've been lurking for a while, but had to post. My husband gets migraines after strenuous workouts too. My first guess would also be dehydration, but my advice would also be to check your blood pressure. Best situation would be a heart rate monitor. I did a run when I bonked and my blood pressure was unbelievably low. But my husband checked his blood pressure after a hard workout, and keep in mind that he's just lost about 15 pounds and his blood pressure is super high-which I think may be contributing to his headaches. Try the cuff at your closest Target and if it's normal, at least you have that peace of mind. Hang in there! And if you hate the taste of water, fill a pitcher of water and ice and add either lemon slices or watermelon. Perfect on a hot summer day. Happy running

Michael & Amanda said...

I definitely agree with the hydration comments but I also have "triggers" that affect whether or not I have a headache. Mostly diet things (MSG, chocolate etc) that can cause headaches for me, even if I'm not running. If I know I am going to run (or fly or go to a higher elevation) on a hot day, I try to make sure that my other "triggers" are kept to as low a level as possible. This helps minimize the likelihood of getting a headache for me!