Sydney Headache & Migraine Centre

Headaches after exercise


Dealing with Headaches After Exercise: Causes and Remedies

Exercise is universally acknowledged as a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Whether you’re hitting the gym, jogging through the park, or practicing yoga at home, physical activity offers numerous benefits for both body and mind. However, what happens when the euphoria of a workout is dampened by the onset of a headache? Headaches after exercise can be perplexing and frustrating, but understanding their causes and remedies can help you manage and prevent them effectively.

Understanding Exercise-Induced Headaches

Types of Exercise-Induced Headaches:

  • Primary Exercise Headaches: These are typically harmless and often occur during or after intense physical activity. They can manifest as a throbbing pain on both sides of the head.
  • Exertional Headaches: These headaches are caused by strenuous exercise and tend to subside once you rest.
  • Secondary Exercise Headaches: These are less common but could indicate an underlying health issue, such as high blood pressure or a brain condition. If you experience severe or recurrent headaches, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional.


Reason for headache after exercise

  1. Dehydration: Insufficient fluid intake before, during, or after exercise can lead to dehydration, triggering headaches.
  2. Poor Posture or Muscle Tension: Incorrect form or muscle tension during exercise, especially in the neck and shoulders, can cause tension headaches.
  3. Exertion: Sudden and intense physical exertion, such as weightlifting or sprinting, can increase blood flow to the head rapidly, leading to primary exercise headaches.
  4. Dietary Factors: Low blood sugar levels, skipping meals, or consuming certain foods before exercising can also contribute to headaches.

Managing and Preventing Exercise-Induced Headaches

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drink water before, during, and after your workout to maintain proper hydration levels.
  2. Warm-Up and Cool Down: Always warm up before starting your exercise routine and cool down afterward to gradually ease your body into and out of physical activity.
  3. Correct Technique: Ensure proper form and posture during exercises to minimize strain on your muscles and joints.
  4. Balance Your Diet: Eat a balanced meal or snack containing carbohydrates and proteins before exercising. Avoid heavy meals or foods that may trigger headaches.
  5. Gradual Progression: If you’re new to exercise or increasing the intensity of your workouts, do so gradually to give your body time to adjust.
  6. Manage Stress: Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or yoga to reduce stress and tension, which can contribute to headaches.
  7. Medical Consultation: If headaches persist despite these measures a consultation with a Headache Physiotherapist will assist you with treatment and provide you with an individualised program to help overcome your exercise-induced headaches. If symptoms become severe, consult a medical practitioner to rule out any underlying medical conditions.



While migraine headaches after exercise can be disruptive, they are often manageable with lifestyle adjustments and appropriate care. By understanding the potential causes and implementing preventive measures like hydration, correct technique, and balanced nutrition, you can minimize the likelihood of experiencing exercise-induced headaches. Remember, listening to your body and addressing any concerns promptly ensures that you can continue to enjoy the numerous benefits of regular physical activity without unnecessary discomfort.

Book A Migraine/Headache Assessment

Book online or give us a call on 1300MyHeadache (1300 694 323) to organise an assessment with Sydney Headache & Migraine Centre and learn more about what causes your migraines and how we can help treat them.