Sometimes heavy weightlifting (squats, deadlift, etc.) can cause a headache and make you think that this is an aneurysm in your brain.
An aneurysm is a dilated or bulging blood vessel, and the bigger it gets, the weaker it gets — meaning increased chances of rupturing.
A headache, while doing heavy lifts, can be brought on by dehydration, even though you may not feel thirsty.
To help rule out dehydration as the cause of a bad headache that occurs during or after deadlifting, squatting or some other heavy weightlifting routine, you should drink plenty of water prior to working out; a tall glass worth.
Fifteen minutes into your routine (including any warming up), guzzle some more water.
Every 15 minutes drink water; not a tiny sip, but guzzle it at the fountain.
Also make sure that you’ve been adequately nourished throughout the day with nutritious food.
If you nevertheless develop a headache during your weightlifting, or shortly after, this may be due to an increase in the venous pressure of the brain, according to Teresa Caulin-Glaser, MD, a cardiologist and senior vice president with Service Lines, OhioHealth.
Dr. Glaser also mentions what is known as a primary thunderclap headache, which may be caused by heavy weightlifting (and we all know how heavy and wicked a good set of deadlifts or barbell squatting can be).
The primary thunderclap headache is related to the vasoconstriction of the blood vessels that feed the brain.
An exertional headache can occur while lifting weights, and this is not related to the presence of an aneurysm.
If an aneurysm begins rupturing, you will have the most severe headache you’ve ever had, and the condition will deteriorate unless you get prompt medical attention.
On the other hand, if you had a really bad headache during your weight workout, but it disappeared once you stopped the workout and you’ve been fine since, this is not a ruptured aneurysm.
Dr. Caulin-Glaser is an experienced physician, teacher and researcher in the specialty of cardiovascular disease, and formerly the system vice president for Heart & Vascular Services at OhioHealth.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.