The Headache Clinic
The Headache Clinic

January 26, 2021

Managing Headache and Migraine at the Gym

Was your New Year’s resolution to get fit and improve your health, only to find that going to the gym triggers a Headache or Migraine or gives you neck pain?

You are not alone! There is an explanation for this, and I’ve got some great advice on how to work out without triggering a Headache or Migraine.

Plenty of research says physical activity helps prevent Headache and Migraine, so why does going to a boot camp or the gym trigger Headache and Migraine?

The answer is not hydration! Although hydration is important, there is another factor at play here.

Deep stabilising muscles

Research shows that those with Headache and Migraine, previous trauma to the neck or head, or neck pain and stiffness have a delayed activation of the deep stabilising muscles in the neck. These muscles help to stabilise and support the neck. 

Usually, what we would expect to find in people without these conditions is an activation of the stabilising muscles just before moving the arm away from the body. This prevents unnecessary strain from being applied to the structures in the neck and decreases the risk of injury.

You can imagine how many gym activities involve the arms being away from the side of the body, let alone adding in those weights! So, if there is load coming onto the neck when you lift your arms, and the neck is unsupported by the stabilising muscles, it is no wonder that the end result is a Headache, Migraine, or neck pain.

How do you prevent this from happening?

Activating and strengthening the stabilising muscles of the neck is a must! In our clinic, we treat patients with Headache, Migraine, and neck issues by correcting the dysfunction in the neck and tailoring a specific strengthening programme for the stabilising muscles.

However, there is something you can try next time you are at the gym. When lifting weights, stand or sit with correct posture and tuck your chin in, or as some people would say, “pull your head in”.

Not so you are looking down but so that you are on the verge of giving yourself a double chin. Another great thing to do is to book a session with a personal trainer so they can watch and correct your technique during a workout.

This is a great way to check you aren’t loading your neck unnecessarily while also helping prevent injury to other areas in the body.

If you find you are still having issues with Headache, Migraine, or neck pain after physical activity, come and see us at The Headache Clinic.

Give us a call on 0508 HEADACHE because we’re here to help you take control!

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