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Question
Posted by: Roger Pellatt | 2009/12/07

Delayed Headaches After Exercise, Particularly in the Sun

Hi there,

Since I moved back to Cape Town from London about a year ago I have been experiencing pretty bad headaches after any form of exercise, particularly on hot days.

My usual exercises include day hikes, golf, running, and cyclig (road and mountain biking). Of late the headaches have occured quite often after the hikes. We often do back-to-back 2 day hikes over the weekend, covering a distance of about 18-20kms each day. I wear a cap, light loose fitting clothes and drink at least 2 litres of liquid while on the trail and maintain a good liquid intake before and after heading out. We can be on the trails for up to 8 hours but on average about 6-7 hours with regular breaks. I use Piz Buin factor 30 sunblock for the hikes and reapply during the hike. For food I usually have health bars, bananas, dried fruit, mixed nuts and the odd sweet for energy levels.

I usually feel fine the evening after the hike but if I get one of the headaches it will start the next day pretty much from when I wake up. Generally the heachaches are of a dull throbbing nature, either above my left eye or frontal in nature. My eyes become extremely sensitive to light and the headache will last the whole day until early evening or even until I go to sleep. It will be gone the next day. I have tried taking pain killers, includng Myprodol, and nothing seems to ease the pain. My current rememdy is to lie on my bed with the curtains shut and a warm cloth over my head which seems to ease to heachache but not cure it.

I have also had an MRI of my brain and upper neck and there appears to be no abnormalities in any areas. Agewise I' m 39 and have never had these headaches before now.

Any advice on what might be casuing the headaches, solutions to them (homeopathic/pharmaceutical/herbal) or possible ways of preventing them would be greatly appreciated.

Regards

Roger Pellatt



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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Roger,

Sorry for the delayed answer – I somehow missed your query.

Fortunately MRI scans rarely show any problem when dealing with headaches. They are only necessary when a neurological examination reveals that there is a need for a scan. The answer is first to get a proper diagnosis. To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary assessment”, which should include a neurological examination to rule out any serious underlying condition. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, that no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension, and of the external carotid vasculature to determine whether there is an arterial element to the pain.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on http://www.headacheclinic.co.za/

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 911.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

1
Our users say:
Posted by: headache expert | 2009/12/11

Dear Roger,

Sorry for the delayed answer – I somehow missed your query.

Fortunately MRI scans rarely show any problem when dealing with headaches. They are only necessary when a neurological examination reveals that there is a need for a scan. The answer is first to get a proper diagnosis. To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary assessment”, which should include a neurological examination to rule out any serious underlying condition. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, that no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension, and of the external carotid vasculature to determine whether there is an arterial element to the pain.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on http://www.headacheclinic.co.za/

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 911.

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