Not only can sore neck muscles from working out with weights cause a headache, but don’t underestimate what bad sitting posture can do, either.
A headache can be an alarming symptom, but remember, the head is like any other part of the body, in that if it’s the site of aggravation, a headache can often result.
And that site doesn’t necessarily have to be on the head itself; it can be nearby.
And this includes from lifting weights; the neck muscles are located in close enough proximity to the head to cause a radiating pain or ache that travels upward.
For this article I interviewed Dr. Mark Galland, orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine specialist and physician at Orthopaedic Specialists of North Carolina. Let’s first look at lifting weights.
Dr. Galland explains, “Weightlifting can certainly cause headaches, especially when neck muscles are overworked, causing hypertrophy and sometimes muscle spasms.”
These muscle spasms can register over 5 on the 1 to 10 pain scale.
Strength training moves that involve the neck muscles include shoulder shrugs, the deadlift and other pulling exercises.
But now another question is triggered…
Just what is the mechanism for these headaches that are induced by lifting weights?
Dr. Galland puts it this way: “Overworked muscles = spasm = tightness—which causes direct pain of scalp muscles or indirectly by pinching occipital and other scalp nerves.”
Nerve pain can really hurt, even if it’s a spasming muscle and lactic acid encroaching upon the nerve.
What about poor sitting posture?
Dr. Galland says, “One of the most common causes of headaches are muscles that are made sore from tension and the constant hunching over computers. When we do not sit up straight, our heads have to extend backward, which causes spasm and strain. Occipital neuralgia, which is quite rare, can cause very sharp, intense pain, can occur when your neck muscles are in spasm and contracted.”