Headaches post exercise

I’ve had this problem for a few years now.

After a hard bike ride I sometimes get a splitting headaches about an hour or so after my ride. The symptoms are identical to a migraine and results in me laying in bed in the dark wishing for someone to shoot me. I’ve thought of the regular reasons including dehydration, overexertion, allergies etc. I’ve looked it up and some other suggestions are to stretch before exercise, breathing pattern, and even reducing the amount of amino acids before, during and after the ride.

It doesn’t happen all the time, and in all kinds of weather. I used to get them when I played hockey too.

Anyone else have this issue, or have any ideas on how to stop the buggers?

MTBing (and I assume hockey) can be really hard on the shoulders. And extremely tense shoulder muscles can lead to headache like symptoms. My wife thought she had migraines for years until she went to see our Chiropractor who freeded up her shoulders. She gets headaches/muscle aches occasionally still, but they are much less severe and more easily dealt with. Maybe some massage therapy or else seeing my Chiro guy could be of help?

Stretching before exercise is generally not that useful. Your muscles are cold and the stretch doesn’t do much. Stretching needs to be done post exercise to get any real benefit.

I had thought of that, but wouldn’t that happen every ride? What was her experience with frequency of the headaches prior to the chiro?

Hit or miss. Generally it involved intensive work for long periods of time, though it wasn’t consistent. A decent massage therapist or Chiro that does soft tissue work should be able to at least eliminate that as an issue. And sometimes all you can do is start to eliminate things.

Keeping a log of how you feel post ride and what you have done leading up to and after a ride might also help narrow things down. It seems tedious I know, but so are headaches.


Blood pressure issues can cause headaches as well… if you can borrow a portable bp machine it might give a clue…

Helmet fit issues perhaps?

I’ll keep a log including looking at which helmet I’m using and how tight it is. Thanks for the suggestions.

funny to mention helmet issue… i had a helmet that i didn’t generally have an issue with, wore it all the time, but in the type of cycling i did previously it was continuously on and off my head, when i would go to somewhere that i wore it for extended periods of time, i would get a week long headache, and the glands at the base of my skull would swell to the size of golf balls. this would take much longer for it to subside. mind you i am a chronic migraine sufferer, these were not migraines but just a pesky headaches…
hopefully this is something simple… as mentioned keep a log both pre and post exercise… it really is the best way, keep track of what you eat, how you feel, and duration if there is equipment changes (bike, helmet, shoe, ect). i am sure there is other things of importance too… i know this sucks … but it will work… i had to do it for my migraine diagnosis. a pattern WILL develop.