Can Neck Exercises Cause Headaches?

Can Neck Exercises Cause Headaches?

Can neck exercises cause headaches?

Neck exercises are not the sole cause of headaches. Any exercise can cause a headache. These are called exercise headaches and are exclusively known for arising during or after training. They can be incredibly uncomfortable as the pulsating pain lasts for a few minutes to a few hours. This deters you from working out in the future. 

But, there are some ways you can offset the discomfort of exercise headaches. And we’ll explain what those are to you today. Throughout this article, we’ll detail what precisely an exercise headache is, what causes it, and what you can do to prevent it in the future. 

What is an Exercise Headache?

An exercise headache, also known as an exertion headache, commonly arises during or after physical activity. Most of the time, the pain will subside within a few minutes or hours, but for some people, an exercise headache can last days. 

Exercise headache pain is often described as pulsating and bilateral, which occurs on both sides of the head. The likelihood of an exercise headache increases at high altitudes or in hot weather, though it can happen in any other environment during exercise. 

Can Neck Exercises Cause Headaches?

So, can neck exercises cause headaches? 

Sometimes, but it’s rarely the exercise itself to blame. Instead, exercise headaches can be caused by an array of issues, including lack of proper form or technique, dehydration, or exercising in environments that increase the likelihood of suffering from an exercise headache. 

Let’s take a deeper look at why you’re suffering from these headaches before explaining what you can to do alleviate them.

Common Reasons Neck Exercises Can Cause Headaches

There are a few common reasons neck exercises can cause headaches. However, many of these are preventable, so if you’re looking to deter an upcoming headache, you must keep reading!

Poor Form

Incorporating proper form is crucial for getting the most out of your exercise while preventing a horde of injury risks. For example, using poor form with neck exercises can raise the risk of headaches due to the tension being instigated onto the neck. This travels up to the head, resulting in an exercise headache. 

Poor form can place unnecessary strain on the neck and shoulder muscles, irritating the muscles and nerves. Even carrying stress in shoulders and neck can result in headaches in and out of the gym, hence the importance of proper form and posture, which can be achieved through neck training and neck posture exercises.


During exercise, the body sweats, resulting in the loss of bodily fluids. Supplementing this loss with fluids, whether it be water or electrolytes, is crucial to avoiding the possibility of dehydration. 

One of the prominent symptoms of dehydration is headaches. So if you’re in the gym and you start getting an exercise headache, evaluate your daily water intake. Next, assess other symptoms of dehydration, including muscle cramps, thirst, and dizziness. 

Then, ensure you’re making up for the loss of fluids during your workouts by bringing a water bottle or jug. This can help prevent uncomfortable symptoms of dehydration like exercise headaches so that you can focus on your workout and be at peak performance! 


Strenuous activity is the biggest cause of exercise headaches. During exertion, the body needs more oxygen and blood to provide vital nutrients to the body. This rise in activity can cause veins and arteries to expand to instigate more blood flow. 

With the resulting expansion comes an increase in blood pressure to the skill, which can result in pain. Some everyday activities have a higher chance of excess or intense exertion, including weightlifting, running, and swimming. 

Low Blood Sugar

The body needs glucose to convert into energy to help power the muscles through a workout. Therefore, if glucose levels are low or a workout is too hard, it can result in blood sugar dropping too low. 

Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, coincides with typical symptoms of dizziness, shakiness, and headaches. The importance of fueling the body pre-workout, and in general, is consistently stressed for a great reason. Unfortunately, its ability to prevent injuries, like exercise headaches and sickness, and to energize and strengthen the body is too commonly overlooked. 

Other Underlying Causes of Headaches Unrelated to Neck Exercises

When it comes to exercise headaches, there are other underlying causes you may not know about. Find out what they are below! 

Overexposure To The Sun

Spending too much time in the sun while working out can result in an exercise headache. The overexposure can irritate the eyes exposed to bright light. Paired with strenuous exercise, this can place added tension and strain on the body, resulting in a nagging exercise headache. 

Other symptoms to note when overexposed to the sun while exercising include nausea, heavy sweating, and dehydration. Use caution when exercising in the sun, and drink plenty of water! 

Tight Workout Gear

Depending on the sport or the kind of equipment you wear during working out, it can cause an exercise headache. For example, some sports require head protection gear, but other exercises might wear headbands, headphones, or hats that are too tight.

When these items are too tight, it compresses and squeezes the head, creating external pressure. This results in uncomfortable pain, which can result in an exercise headache. 

Tips for Performing Neck Exercises Safely to Avoid Headaches

Performing neck exercises safely can be a game-changer in wholly avoiding exercise headaches. For more information on how you can get the most out of neck exercises, continue reading below! 

Perfect Your Form First

To avoid neck pain after workout sessions, like exercise headaches, it’s crucial to perfect your form. Whether it be neck exercises for mass or exercises for a pinched nerve in the neck, following proper form throughout each designated movement can help prevent injury and promote progress in your neck training goals, like learning how to get rid of tech neck.

Use Better Equipment

Poorly designed neck harnesses with weights can strain the neck, leading to headaches.

Iron Neck’s high-quality tools and neck exercises equipment offer more seamless movement and proper range of motion, helping prevent unnecessary strain on the neck. 

Applying a safe and even amount of resistance throughout the head’s rotation, Iron Neck’s tools used for neck training encourage results in addressing poor posture and mobility, reducing pain, and rehabbing patients. So whether you want a thick neck for aesthetics or a strong neck for better health and injury prevention, Iron Neck’s neck training equipment is perfect! 

Slowly Introduce Resistance & Progression

Slow and steady wins the race. When it comes to exercises for neck pain and headaches, slowly introducing resistance and progressively overloading the body with heavier weight will initiate ongoing results. 

It is not recommended to go in hard from the get-go. This can raise the risk of injury, as the body has yet to adapt to the new resistance and movement patterns. As the body undergoes these movements, it will begin to strengthen and adjust, resulting in progress. At this point, it is time to introduce more resistance to continue progression and desired results. 

Stay Hydrated and Nourished Before and After Exercising

As previously discussed, water intake and diet are crucial for preventing exercise headaches and other injuries. Ensuring you have had enough water before exercise, supplementing with water while working out, and then replenishing with water after is a must. Also, eating before and after exercise will keep blood sugar levels steady to prevent an exercise headache while fueling the body before and helping it recover after working out. 

Final Thoughts on Neck Exercises and Headaches

Neck exercises aren’t the underlying cause of exercise headaches, contrary to what some people may think. Instead, exercise headaches are caused by numerous factors, such as water and food intake, form, and overly tight equipment.  

With Iron Neck’s neck training equipment, you can train the neck without placing unnecessary strain on the body, incorporating exercises for neck pain and headaches. Made with the highest quality and optimal design in mind, our neck training tools are used by physical therapists to help rehab patients that have suffered from a neck-related injury. Our neck-training tool helps to strengthen the neck to prevent injury, not cause it! 

Say “no more” to neck pain today with Iron Neck’s neck training equipment!