Powerlifting 7. The exploding head fuse is burning!
This was a new (and unexpected) pain experience for me! Monday (yesterday) started with an ever so slightly stiff neck, which I could easily have put down to sleeping awkwardly, but obviously I expected it might also have something to do with balancing heavy weights on my shoulders. After my squat session on the Monday I also noticed that I was getting a strange kind of headache ... one that I have NEVER experienced before. It started around my occiput and was particularly noticable when I raised my head to look upwards (even slightly), but it also extended upwards around my crown when I massaged the occipital area. The pain was not intense but it was uncomfortable enough for me to research a possible connection with my lifting activities. Also, I was kind of confused about it, because it felt like it was on the outside of my skull and I was pretty certain there were no muscles there to pull! It was not long before I came across this explanation of the possible cause and remedial action required: http://breakingmuscle.com/health-medicine/lifting-headaches-how-to-spot-avoid-and-remedy-them
I think my nutrition is pretty much on point ... though I could do with a slightly higher fluid intake (having just typed this I am off to get a large glass of water). Again, the main issue is possibly one of posture (both inside and outside of the gym), so I will make sure I keep an eye on that also. Fortunately, I had nothing anywhere near as severe as the guy in the above link, no major pain at 'source', no pressure inside and nothing behind the eyes. I have also read plenty of other accounts where this has developed in people lifting weights and the pain has been unbearable and even seriously debilitating! It would seem that the exact cause is not fully understood, with proposed explanations ranging from a compressed occipital nerve to increased contraction of the abs and chest muscles resulting in increased cerebral blood pressure/vessel dilation. http://www.livestrong.com/article/339223-what-causes-exertion-headaches-while-lifting-weights/
Most importantly, I do not want this to develop further ... and hence the importance of researching and dealing with issues as and when they arise. Prevention is always better than cure! A couple of ibruprofen resolved the problem overnight, with only a very slight dullness remaining this morning, but I am still getting discomfort in the occipital area when I lift my head slightly. On reflection, I did have mild but uncomfortable headaches for much of last week [training week 1], but at the time had attributed these to having been away from my office for one week and that they were probably due to re-acclimatizing to being back in front of a computer screen all day). I now suspect that was not the case and must also attribute last week's headaches to my training activities.
This is something that I need to keep a very close eye on as the last thing I want is for my head to explode! I found a link for a very simple sub-occipital neck stretch, so will give this a try as well and will update on this issue in due course. http://www.livestrong.com/article/397186-exercises-for-occipital-pain/
Thanks for reading!