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Headache after riding?

Old 09-19-15, 03:44 PM
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Headache after riding?

Does anyone else get late-onset headaches after riding? I don't mean during the ride, but well afterward (maybe hours)? It's by no means an "every time" thing with me, but it does happen more than rarely.

I keep hydrated while riding, unless I'm just unintentionally under-drinking. I'll consume (the better part of) two 20-24 oz bottles of Gatorade during a 2 hour ride, for example. I ride early, avoiding the hottest part of the day as much as possible, which usually means lunch not too long after I get back. Often, while I may feel tired when I get back home, I don't get the headache until maybe an hour later, after my shower, etc. For some reason these headaches, while not debilitating, are sometimes difficult to kick (even with medication), sticking with me through the rest of the day maybe even to bed. Next day, I'm fine.

Any similiar experiences?

Thanks.
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Old 09-19-15, 04:06 PM
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No

Have you taken your blood pressure or heart rate during these episodes?
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Old 09-19-15, 04:16 PM
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Do you wear sunglasses every time you ride?
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Old 09-19-15, 04:27 PM
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Not BP, although fully-settled resting pressures at home (which I know is different than during a ride) are typically good for a 56 year-old, often below 120/80. During the ride? No idea.

HR? I got an HR cyclometer (Vetta) a few months ago and I indeed see it climb to 170+ at times when under effort (hills, headwind, etc.). But it drops back into the 140-160 range (sometimes lower) given a little time, and that recovery time is slowly shortening the more I ride. My HR had been the focus of my doc at an 'observational' level for several years, but there's no indication of any other issues at all. It's not out of the typical range for my age, although athletes of my age are generally lower (but I'm not an athlete by any stretch). At any rate, since I started riding again 5 years ago, I've been at about the same relative exertion level throughout, with zero chest pain, cardiad-related shortness of breath, etc. EKG and ECG tests a couple of years ago showed no issues.

I thought about BP/HR, but the headaches are always LONG after all that's settled down. I can't prove it's unrelated, but...

Maybe I'm still not hydrating enough, despite that I think. I realize that feeling thirsty isn't necessarily a requirement for dehydration, at least for a while. It was an organized ride today with SAG stops, so I took advantage of them. In fact, after one stop I realized I had drunk too much water, possibly - I had that sloshing-stomach sensation for a while, but there were no problems. I drank a mixture of Gatorade, water and (a little) Coke. I had an unusual craving to something sweet after I got home, but that may be unrelated.

Sunglasses? Most of the time unless it's really overcast.

Thanks.
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Old 09-19-15, 08:05 PM
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2 bottles in two hours? Dunno how hot her days are but its cool here . I'd drink ¾ of a bottle in two hours. Any chance you're drinking too much?
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Old 09-19-15, 08:06 PM
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How much water do you drink the night before? For me that's usually the culprit.
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Old 09-19-15, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by digibud View Post
2 bottles in two hours? Dunno how hot her days are but its cool here . I'd drink ¾ of a bottle in two hours. Any chance you're drinking too much?
Temperature started around 70F or so and warmed up to the low 90s by the time I finished. When I returned to the start point, a nearby business's sign showed 93F. So, it was warm but not blazing hot.

Opinions vary, but for example, I seem to recall reading on the Hammer website that in warm conditions, 20-24 oz per hour is about right.
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Old 09-19-15, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
How much water do you drink the night before? For me that's usually the culprit.
Nothing special. This time I ate properly the night before, but didn't concentrate on drinking, specifically. Usually, it's business as usual.

I have friends who always have a glass of water in their hand, all day long. I've never done that, but I could be under-hydrated in general. Not sure.
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Old 09-19-15, 08:39 PM
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90F ? Hah ha. Drink on! It was 45F on today's ride, cloudy and cool. Short 25 mi but no water needed. We don't typically ride if it's over 80F...too hot!
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Old 09-19-15, 09:08 PM
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I could be the opposite of... what your doing. What do you do different when you don't ride? Is it possible that on days when you don't ride you drink coffee, eat chocolate, or have a caffeinated energy drink? A persistent headache almost sounds like caffeine withdrawal.
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Old 09-20-15, 06:12 AM
  #11  
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I get them occasionally. If I workout in the heat to the point that I feel my face flush is when I might get one a couple hours later. They can be excruciating if I do something requiring exertion.

Don't know if they are caused by lack of hydration, over exertion, or a little mini heatstroke. Next time I get one, I'll measure my BP. Three Advil and some rest helps a lot. And I try to back off when I feel the face flush coming on.
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Old 09-20-15, 06:17 AM
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Go see a doctor for a full check up. I would.
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Old 09-20-15, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
I could be the opposite of... what your doing. What do you do different when you don't ride? Is it possible that on days when you don't ride you drink coffee, eat chocolate, or have a caffeinated energy drink? A persistent headache almost sounds like caffeine withdrawal.
I've thought about this. Actually about the only thing different on ride days is the consumption of Gatorade, which I don't normally drink (much). But I don't have headaches after every ride. Yesterday I had coffee first thing when I got up as usual, but not again. I usually have maybe one more cup sometime during the day, which I didn't yesterday.

It's like an onion - Peel it back layer by layer. Sooner or later hopefully I'll figure out what's happening.

Thanks for all the feedback.
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Old 09-20-15, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by lphilpot View Post
..... the only thing different on ride days is the consumption of Gatorade, which I don't normally drink (much........ Yesterday I had coffee first thing when I got up as usual, but not again. I usually have maybe one more cup sometime during the day, which I didn't yesterday.
I started cutting back on coffee on the mornings I would ride. I think the shortage of caffeine intake... along with the extra sweat and calorie burn but me at a caffeine deficit.... so I'd get a dull afternoon headache that stayed around.

So now I sometimes (after a hard or long ride) stop for a coffee at a nice little outdoor café. Problem solved.
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Old 09-20-15, 12:21 PM
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I like my morning coffee, but on riding days most of the reason for it is actually different. As a friend says, "it wakes up my gut", helps get the plumbing working and helps avoid a criticial situation miles from home (or any other restroom). Unfortunately, where I ride (countryside) there are no sources for coffee, other than maybe a C-store somewhere. Hmm... I'll have to think about that...
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Old 09-20-15, 01:33 PM
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Well, a headache is a symptom of hyponatremia - over-dilution of the blood so that serum sodium concentration is lowered. Doesn't seem like that could be the case, but you might try drinking less, say 1 bottle in 2 hours. You're not going to get particularly dehydrated in 2 hours since you are used to your local temperatures. Or maybe it's something in the Gatorade that your body doesn't like. Try drinking something else. I like HEED from Hammer Nutrition. In Europe, it's common to drink 50% diluted Coke.

I don't think the coffee would be the problem. A cup before a ride is a good idea. If you were used to having a cup every hour, maybe.
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Old 09-20-15, 02:00 PM
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In the past, I suffered from severe hyponatremia after my hard and/or long rides. I was ingesting too little salt for my activity level (particularly in the sweaty, hot summer). But your eating habits and gatorade intake suggest that this may not be your problem. I would, just to experement, add more gatorade powder to your water next time you ride. Or just add a little more salt to the pre-mixed gatorade solution. A little more would be something like 1g table salt/liter. 1g NaCl is only 400mg Na fyi.

Adding more water to a hyponatremic person will make the situation worse as it dilutes the blood sodium level.

On a two hour ride I will not need any water. Typically what I do after such a ride is to add 2.5g NaCl to 1l of water and down it. Never had a problem with hyponatremia since.

However your problem may be something different that a nutrition expert or doctor should look at.

Invaluable info: http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/salt.html

Last edited by pressed001; 09-20-15 at 02:14 PM. Reason: adding info
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Old 09-20-15, 07:45 PM
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Could be caffeine withdrawal. Used to happen to me. Had coffee on a Friday none on Saturday when I would ride and later after riding would get a Headache. Aspirin, Tylenol or Advil did nothing. But a cup of coffee stopped the headache in about a half an hour. Just a thought, might want to look into this. I gave up coffee with caffeine only do decafe now.
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Old 09-20-15, 08:40 PM
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I had a touch of a headache after that ride, as well, but I didn't notice it until I got back to the house about 45 minutes or so after the ride. After a couple of aspirin and some food, my headache was gone. Mine, if I get them, usually occur after a long (for me) effort, and they vary in intensity from just noticeable to noticeable (but not bad). I looked for you Friday afternoon and Saturday but did not see you.
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Old 09-20-15, 08:51 PM
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Could be sun glare causing you to squint & get a headache if you're not wearing sun glasses. Low blood sugar? We've discussed dehydration. I'm a distance runner & coach says your urine should be pale and clear. If not need to drink more. It shouldn't be colorless like water - that means you've drank too much, with potential to flush the needed electrolytes.
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Old 09-20-15, 09:39 PM
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Some neurological after-effect to your neck/head position? Like a delayed reaction to muscle constriction, or pressure on the sensitive membrane (dura mater) at the base of the skull?
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Old 09-21-15, 08:50 AM
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Could there be a sinus relationship. How are you breathing? I don't know what the usual humidity level is in your location, but when I'm exposed to a good deal less humidity, especially when riding or running, I sometimes experience a headache.
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Old 09-21-15, 09:17 AM
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Do you have a nagging wife?.. Sometimes after I go for a long ride my wife is upset that I was gone so long and not at home doing yard work and I'll get a headache from the bickering.
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Old 09-21-15, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Well, a headache is a symptom of hyponatremia - over-dilution of the blood so that serum sodium concentration is lowered.
Headache is also a symptom of mild to moderate dehydration. Too bad the body has so few signals for "something's not right" that they get re-used so much.
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Old 09-21-15, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Headache is also a symptom of mild to moderate dehydration. Too bad the body has so few signals for "something's not right" that they get re-used so much.
I didn't know that. I've been very dehydrated to the point of heat stroke, never a headache. Never had hyponatremia though, one of the few problems I've never had.
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