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Headache after swimming

Hello all

Wonder if anyone has any advice or experiences with this.

I end up with pretty bad headaches straight after my swim training.

Just by way of background, I'm about 2 months into my swimming training, starting from absolute scratch. Swim front crawl. Generally do things like 100m or 200m reps with a 60sec break after each rep. Used to try to cover about 1500m per session but have now cut if back to about 800m to try and avoid the headaches... So far, this has not worked!

Any thoughts why it might be? I try to keep it at a fairly easy rate but do tend to get rather puffed out. I wonder if it's to do with my breathing?



  • Get headaches during any other exercise?

    I usually get headaches on restarting training if i have been off for a few months.

    Also you wear earplugs? some people told me they get headaches if they dont wear them (or maybe she just didnt like my chat up lines)

  • ScibbyScibby Posts: 55
    Nope - I'm fine after all other sessions.

    Don't wear earplugs: water in the brain? [:D] Something to google...
  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    Have you considered your hydration?

    Try leaving a water bottle at the end of your lane and het some fluid in when on 60 second break. It might be down to the heat?

    If it persists then see a doc!
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    My Vote:



  • FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    Are you swimming first thing in the morning? Are you properly hydrated? And do you drink water (apart from the pool) when you're swimming? Make sure you put some energy in as well before you swim. I go with half a banana/chunk of soreen, but whatever takes your fancy.

    I also take a water bottle which I leave at the end of the pool and sip from between sets. Might be worth trying if you're not doing this already.

    And don't overdo it. Maybe cut back to 25m or 50m sets for a couple of sessions.
  • FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    Have you considered your hydration?

    Try leaving a water bottle at the end of your lane and het some fluid in when on 60 second break. It might be down to the heat?

    Ya beat me to it Blinkybaz! Damn you're quick.

  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    Theres only the quick and the dehydrated!
  • TeapotTeapot Posts: 7
    For a few months last summer I was having classic migraine after swimming (both in open water and pool). I tried to make sure that I was well hydrated, not over heating, that I had something to eat before swimming, that my hat and goggles weren't pressing on my head, that I was cooling down to reduce stress in my neck and shoulders, and that I wasn't changing from glasses to contacts without a sufficient break between. I've not had a migraine for over 6 months and I still can't put my finger on what caused it.

    I guess at the time my breathing wasn't great and now it's better.....
  • ScibbyScibby Posts: 55
    Hmmm. Ta folks... good suggestions so far. I've got to admit, never really thought dehdration might be the issue (pool water is water, no?) Will give that a go. Also need to get a better pair of goggles - mine are ancient...

    We shall see - and in the meantime, press on. I've booked myself up for some 121s too, see if that helps...

  • GHarvGHarv Posts: 456
    Are the googles too tight?

  • ScibbyScibby Posts: 55
    Erm the'y're uncomfortable enough that I wanna remove them in my recovery min (which then leads to a fun 10 seconds of dramatic kicking while trying to put back on again)

    Beginning to feel a bit foolish for posting now...

    Step 1: buy new goggles

    Step 2: ensure adequate hydration

    Off we go!
  • DocmartinDocmartin Posts: 17
    Exercise induced headaches are not uncommon and all the advice you have been given is pot on.

    all I want to add is, the only stupid question is the one you don't ask.....

    hope it clears up.
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Can add a few to the list?

    Oxygen debt can cause headaches, so if your breathing is a bit awry you may feel it.

    Tension in your neck/shoulders - are you looking up a bit too much.

    Also, very much mindful of the 'dehydration' suggestion being the most likely thing, do you swallow a LOT of water when swimming? Over-hydration can cause serious (and dangerous) headaches. Not sure if chlorine would make this worse.

    I get swimming headaches occasionally, usually if I've had a very messy or busy session. I have always suspected drinking too much pool water to be the issue, as I know I am not de-hydrated - I drink about 1 litre of water or energy drink per hour when swimming hard.
  • FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    Blimey Bopo, how much pool water are you drinking? Must be gallons! The water level must drop after all that.

    I try and keep my pool water consumption down to one or two gulps a session. Any more than that I can't eat all my frazzles afterwards.
  • ironkavironkav Posts: 259

    Hydration could be an issue but..

    From experience though, and this happened to me.. How is your stroke? Do you breathe to one side. THe reason I ask is that you might have a neck injury. I always got headaches after swimming at the beginning. Turns out I had weak neck muscles. Also I was breathing to the right always. It was not a hydration issue.

    Few trips to physio plus some neck execises into my core routine and headaches were gone.

    Any of that sound familiar?


  • lappieszalappiesza Posts: 36
    Ok my guesses would be

    1. Dehydration

    2. Goggles too tight

    3. Pinched neck nerves

    4. Breathing that causes lack of oxygen (Not taking in enough oxygen)

    All of the above will cause headaches.

  • j27rtj27rt Posts: 102

    Could you describe the type of neck exercises you've added to your core routine. Since a swim on Monday I too have had a splinting head ache and sore neck (plus top of shoulders) and your post has hit home. I have various old neck injuries and had not linked them, I assumed I had picked a bug up and drank to much pool water.


  • ironkavironkav Posts: 259

    I had the shoulder pain also.

    First do this check. SIt on a chair and rotate your neck in various ways. Note any discomfort.

    My neck was weak at the back. Look up to the ceiling, and then back to front. Did you notice any minor difficulty lifting your head?

    Ok ill try explain exercise as best i can. [ul][*]Lie on front[*]Put a towel on ground folded and place your forehead on it.[*]Lift your head, using neck muscles, keeping a long neck.[*]Keep natural space between chin and neck also (correct posture)[*]You should feel the "burn" in the middle of the back of your neck if you are doing it right[*]Hold for 30 sec. Repeat 3-4 times[/ul]Once you can master this try this.

    DO all of above only add the following [ul][*]put arms down side of body.[*]Life your arms up and push your shoulder blade down and inwards[*]You should feel burn in neck and mid shoulders. NOT IN LOWER BACK[*]Hold for 30 sec repeat..[/ul]When i say burn i mean muscle is sore from workout, not from injury

    Also ... Im not a doctor or physio, but these are the exercises my physio gave me.

    On an other note. I have an office job. I try to keep good posture all the time. It helps a lot.

    Youll find most neck injuries are from posture related issues.

    I should of listened to my Mum. "Sit up straight!!!"


    P.S general neck stretches were added to core also..

  • j27rtj27rt Posts: 102
    That is brilliant, thank you very much
  • ScibbyScibby Posts: 55
    Thanks for this guys... Some really useful tips.

    Now just to get back into the pool and start eliminating the options (and, hopefully the headache!)

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