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Question for Meatheads - March 9, 2011, 08:29 AM

This goes out to all the gymaholics out there.

About two months ago, i was in the gym squatting doing a new program that requires one set to failure of each exercise with a slow 5/5 up down cadence. I was lifting 315 for 10 reps using this cadence. On about the 9th rep a pain shot through my head and i just collapsed from under the weight. The headache was intense and lasted another 24 hours before finally going away to a dull headache that i've had ever since.

I've been back to the gym a couple of times and the same thing happens everytime i pick up anything more than 20 lbs or so. Instant headache.

Neuro ordered MRIs and MRAs done but they came back clear. I stopped taking all supplements after the first time it happened but that didn't work.

Anyone have anything like this happen before? It's really F'ing up my life now and the Doc literally said she has no idea whats going.


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March 9, 2011, 09:07 AM

I'm assuming you are properly hydrating while working out since I doubt you're a rookie. It's most likely a pinched nerve in your neck from not quite perfect form. These do cause massive headaches when stressed. If so, now it is enflamed and will remain so for some weeks. If you take plenty of time off and concentrate on cardio instead it should normalize.

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March 9, 2011, 09:13 AM

what he said


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March 9, 2011, 09:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Madali View Post
It's most likely a pinched nerve in your neck from not quite perfect form. If so, now it is enflamed and will remain so for some weeks.
Do you feel any tenderness on your neck/trap area? In the same area where you rest the bar?

If so, the best thing to do is have that area massaged atleast a couple of times everyday. Do it til you can't bare the pain anymore... it should not be comfortable.
What might have happened is that you irritated a muscle in your neck/trap/shoulder, and now that muscle is tensed up. As a result, the muscle has tensed up and is messing with the nerves, giving you headaches. It gets really bad when you lift weight, because that's putting more stress on that tender muscle. So if you massage it out, like I have outlined, the muscle should start to loosen up in a week or two. But stay away from the weights until you have fully recovered.

I also recommend massaging the area with a lacrosse ball, rolling one of those suckers on the tender muscle is definitely going to "tenderize" it. And you can even do it by your self, by pushing the ball against a wall or the floor with your sore muscle and moving around so the ball rolls and puts pressure on the area.



Good luck with your recovery.


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March 9, 2011, 09:48 AM

That's what i thought too. Wouldn't that show up on the MRI though?


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March 9, 2011, 09:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by F3_Chimp View Post
Do you feel any tenderness on your neck/trap area? In the same area where you rest the bar?

If so, the best thing to do is have that area massaged atleast a couple of times everyday. Do it til you can't bare the pain anymore... it should not be comfortable.
What might have happened is that you irritated a muscle in your neck/trap/shoulder, and now that muscle is tensed up. As a result, the muscle has tensed up and is messing with the nerves, giving you headaches. It gets really bad when you lift weight, because that's putting more stress on that tender muscle. So if you massage it out, like I have outlined, the muscle should start to loosen up in a week or two. But stay away from the weights until you have fully recovered.

I also recommend massaging the area with a lacrosse ball, rolling one of those suckers on the tender muscle is definitely going to "tenderize" it. And you can even do it by your self, by pushing the ball against a wall or the floor with your sore muscle and moving around so the ball rolls and puts pressure on the area.



Good luck with your recovery.
No tenderness really. The headaches do roll from above my left eye all the way to the back of head where it meets the neck. I think I'll try to get a a few massages for sure. Maybe even have em rub out my hammies while they're at it.


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March 9, 2011, 09:51 AM

IDK man. I am not a doctor, but I have had my fair share of athletic injuries, and if nothing else has worked its worth a shot.

You can find lacrosse balls for like $1 at play it again sports.


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March 9, 2011, 09:55 AM

Hitachi makes a really powerful massager that might help. I got one for one of my friends and she uses it all the time.


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March 9, 2011, 10:09 AM

Dude I have never heard of that......were you in a squat rack with rails or did that weight fall on you? Only thing I can think of is you pinched the shit out of your Sciatic nerve, not sure if that would explain the headaches though
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March 9, 2011, 10:11 AM

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Originally Posted by UnivOfPittBull View Post
No tenderness really. The headaches do roll from above my left eye all the way to the back of head where it meets the neck. I think I'll try to get a a few massages for sure. Maybe even have em rub out my hammies while they're at it.
yeah yeah get those hammies done....the sciatic nerve splits and runs through the hams as well
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March 9, 2011, 10:16 AM

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Dude I have never heard of that......were you in a squat rack with rails or did that weight fall on you? Only thing I can think of is you pinched the shit out of your Sciatic nerve, not sure if that would explain the headaches though

Luckily, I was in the rack with rails and I always have them set properly. I don't lift with a spotter often so I make sure to have those in place whenever I'm lifting heavy. I dropped pretty fast but ended up on my ass under the weight on the rails. I honestly thought i had given myself an anerysm or something when it happened.


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March 9, 2011, 10:27 AM

try and accupuncturist.

but i am guessing you pinched something. i was doing heavy squats and pinched a nerve and was out for a while.

i always preach, function over fashion. not saying you were going to over your weight, but proper form mostly prevents injury


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March 9, 2011, 01:44 PM

Quote:
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try and accupuncturist.

but i am guessing you pinched something. i was doing heavy squats and pinched a nerve and was out for a while.

i always preach, function over fashion. not saying you were going to over your weight, but proper form mostly prevents injury
When you pinched the nerve how did they diagnose it?

The work out itself is pretty intense but nothing I haven't done before. I think my form and breathing is pretty solid because I've learned most of my lifts under the supervision of strength coaches. That's one of the reasons this bothers me so much. I've been lifting fairly consistently for 8 years or so and never had anything like this happen.


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March 9, 2011, 02:56 PM

sciatic nerve damage is a pain in the ass, no pun intended. I've pinched the nerve, or inflamed it or what ever I did by litteraly sitting on my ass. 1.5 years later and still feel it/have it. if you did do something to that nerve you should not be feeling it in your head though, lower back, hip or leg yes, not face or head.

Head aches are usually caused my pressure in your head (that's why a vasodilator like caffeine can help)I would get a second opinion on your scans and start from there.


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March 9, 2011, 04:39 PM

I did some looking and found some info; doesn't seem like you're the only one, man. This type of thing is usually referenced as "weight lifters cephalgia" (headache: latin). Some people have said they take advil or aspirin, some say that time makes them go away. I think ultimately, time is your best bet. I saw another post where a guy spent $5k trying to figure it out with no luck.

Exertional Headache [Weight Lifters Cephalgia]
Benign exertional headache has been recognized as a separate entity for more than 60 years. In 1932, Tinel (7) first described severe but transient headaches following exercise. Since then, these headaches have been associated with exercises such as weightlifting ( and wrestling (9).

Recent studies (8-10) have delineated a clear-cut exertional headache syndrome: Straining or a Valsalva-type maneuver precipitates the acute onset of severe throbbing pain, usually occipital, for a few seconds to a few minutes. The headache then settles to a dull ache lasting 4 to 6 hours. In subsequent weeks to months, the headache recurs with exertion. The patient has no history of migraine and a normal neurologic exam.

In the largest series to date, Rooke (11) followed 103 patients with benign exertional headaches and found that approximately 10% had an organic cause for the pain, usually a skull-base anomaly. Clearly, the major differential diagnosis--subarachnoid hemorrhage--needs to be excluded by appropriate investigation.

Exertional headaches are thought to be vascular, but this is unproven. According to one theory, exertional headache occurs because exertion increases cerebral arterial pressure, causing the pain-sensitive venous sinuses at the base of the brain to dilate. Studies of weight lifters (12) demonstrate that, with maximal lifts, systolic blood pressure may reach levels above 400 mm Hg and diastolic pressures above 300 mm Hg. The throbbing, migrainous nature of these headaches, together with the finding (13) that intravenous dihydroergotamine mesylate can relieve them, supports the supposition that these headaches have a vascular basis.

A related type of vascular headache caused by sexual activity is termed benign sex headache or orgasmic cephalgia (13). Angiographic studies (14) of both benign exertional and benign sex headaches have demonstrated arterial spasm, further implicating the vascular tree as the basis of these conditions. However, despite their vascular nature, no convincing association with migraine is demonstrable.

Treatment strategies include NSAIDs such as indomethacin at a dose of 25 mg three times per day (15). In practice, the headaches tend to recur over weeks to months when the patient performs the provoking activity and then slowly resolve without treatment, although some cases may be lifelong. In the recovery period, a graduated symptom-limited weightlifting program is appropriate.

7.Tinel J: La céphalée à l'effort, syndrome de distension douloureuse des veines intracraniennces. Médecine 1932;13(Feb):113-118
8.Powell B: Weight lifter's cephalgia. Ann Emerg Med 1982;11(:449-451
9.Perry WJ: Exertional headache. Phys Sportsmed 1985;13(10):95-99
10.Diamond S, Medina JL: Prolonged benign exertional headache, in Critchley M (ed): Headache: Physiopathological and Clinical Concepts. New York City, Raven Press, 1982, pp 145-149
11.Rooke ED: Benign exertional headache. Med Clin North Am 1968;52(4):801-808
12.MacDougall JD, Tuxen D, Sale DG, et al: Arterial blood pressure response to heavy resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol 1985;58(3):785-790
13.Hazelrigg RL. IV DHE-45 relieves exertional cephalgia. Headache 1986;26(1):52
14.Silbert PL, Hankey GJ, Prentice DA, et al: Angiographically demonstrated arterial spasm in a case of benign sexual headache and benign exertional headache. Aust N Z J Med 1989;19(5):466-468
15.Diamond S, Medina JL: Prolonged benign exertional headache: clinical characteristics and response to indomethacin. Adv Neurol 1982;33:145-149


While we're talking about lifting and medical issues, I typically get this feeling of severe dizziness to blacking out (if I don't stop beforehand) when I do typical motions that involve bending at the hip (or so it seems) and high continuous activity. Leg presses, I'm okay. But squats, bent over dumbell rows, hack squats, regular or stiff-legged dead lifts...I spent money getting these scans on my heart with no luck. As long as I take breaks, I'm fine, but if I "go go go," I'm down and knocked out.


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