• This topic has 32 replies, 29 voices, and was last updated 2 weeks ago by jeb.
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  • Headache after a ride – cause?
  • Stevet1
    Free Member

    For the last couple of times I’ve been out on a (mtb) ride, I’ve suffered with a headache afterwards that lasts well into the evening. I try and drink loads but aware it might be dehydration, or heatstroke? I also get a dizzy feeling.

    To be honest I’m wondering (and worrying) whether this is similar to getting ‘brain shake’ and is ultimately not going to do me any good. I’ve had a concussion in the past (not from riding), could this contribute? Over 10 years ago now though. I also used to ride a fair bit of BMX so have taken my share of knocks.

    This is riding a full sus bike at a trail centre on so not a rigid down Ft. William.

    Thoughts anyone? Anyone get similar?

    ampthill
    Full Member

    To quote medicine for mountaineers and wilderness places, “are you producing copious amounts of pale urine?”

    I stuffed up last weekend. I set off at 11:00 but didn’t wee until after i got home at 5:00. I’d actually drunk quite alot

    reluctantwrinkly
    Free Member

    I find that taking a recovery drink like Rego straight  after a ride helps to avoid a headache. It can also be caused by stiff neck muscles so I massage my neck at the base of the skull if I feel one coming on.

    grahamt1980
    Full Member

    Stiff neck muscles for me. Your neck gets in some funny angles while riding offroad

    coconut
    Free Member

    Get some Zero hydration tablets. I take one in my aqua pack and one when I get home, they prevent cramp, help control dehydration and the Grapefruit flavour tastes very good. These work really well.

    https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/high5-zero-pink-grapefruit-60039308?skuid=039308&utm_campaign=shopping&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=pmax&&gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwo6GyBhBwEiwAzQTmc8NZDr35AoxWmcnKEMebTLB3ydXGKv9vLvj0Mv5LXx5LdPi8YI298hoCg_UQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Kramer
    Free Member

    Dehydration or neck tension are the two most likely culprits.

    Post concussion trauma from shaking is more of an issue if you’ve banged your head and not stopped riding.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    It could also be water intoxication from drinking too much plain water – it causes cerebral swelling.  Possible if you are drinking too much plain water.  It could also be too much salt if you are taking electrolites.

    What colour is your urine and are you thirsty?

    Dark urine and thirsty – dehydration.  Dilute urine and not thirsty not dehydrated.  Dilute urine and still thirsty?  Washed out electrolytes from your system  Too much salt also gives you headaches

    Stevet1
    Free Member

    Hmm, not needed to go during or after the ride, points to not drinking enough then. Also neck muscles is a good shout as well. Thanks, will give the electrolytes a go next time.

    What do other people put in their camelbaks if not plain water?

    coconut
    Free Member

    Water with a Zero hydration tablet 🙂

    slowol
    Full Member

    Another option if you are drinking and peeing plenty is could it be pollen induced?

    Despite taking various hayfever concoctions I get headaches kind of starting in my sinuses fairly often this time of year. One dose of paracetamol sees them off but if I let them linger then they can get wearing.

    YMMV.

    johnstell
    Full Member

    Could be exercise induced migraine? I get them frequently and it started after a mini stroke a few years ago. If it’s just suddenly started I’d recommend seeing your GP ASAP. You’ve only got one brain.

    thegeneralist
    Free Member

    Decathlon hydration tablets changed my life. I thought they were so much bullshit, but tried them after the missus bought me some for birthday.

    Absolutely amazing.

    No more keeling over mid rude with full leg cramp.

    Fewer headaches.

    But most importantly I was usually able to sleep reasonably even after a big ride.

    ( Not anymore obvs, as I don’t do big rides any more, but it still helps on the medium ones. I think I had 5 on last Friday’s ride)

    dyna-ti
    Full Member

    Im a big fan of recovery shakes. They’ve worked well for me after an all day ride in even the hottest of weathers, where over the course of the ride im consuming maybe 3 litres of electrolyte mixed water.(and the odd can of Irn Bru).

    Maybe it’s the Irn Bru 😕 It does have magical properties after all.

    sgn23
    Free Member

    Most likely hydration, but also check your helmet isn’t too tight.

    Onzadog
    Free Member

    Has the cradle of your helmet moved? I find mine is more secure the lower I can set the cradle but more comfortable if I don’t. I think when it’s low, it sits on the attachment point for the neck muscles into the skull.

    It’s more likely a hydration thing, but worth considering all possibilities

    qwerty
    Free Member

    If the headaches are from having consumed too much water then beer would resolve the headaches 🍻

    Kojaklollipop
    Free Member

    I read, or was it watched a video, recently about most of us are riding bars that are too wide, a lot of manufacturers put on wide bars cos it’s look cool, but no one ever thinks to cut them dowm – cos it looks cool, right? Basically, if your bars are too wide for your body/height it changes the muscle group that you use, you end up using your traps more so you get back and neck aches leading to headaches as well. There’s supposed to be an ideal way to measure it which is your height in cm x 4.40 and it’s better to go smaller than that measurement if you need to. But, people probably won’t think about this as, y’know, my bike won’t look cool!

    alan1977
    Free Member

    i had a couple of headaches in a row last year, incredibly unusual for me

    turns out it overtightened the retention on my helmet.. felt comfortable but over time induced a headache… was so weird

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    turns out it overtightened the retention on my helmet..

    Done that one as well, always worth checking the simple stuff.

    b33k34
    Full Member

    There’s supposed to be an ideal way to measure it which is your height in cm x 4.40

    That’s  clearly nonsense as I’d be riding 860 wide bars. Surely it should be related to shoulder width and that doesn’t vary with height.

    mert
    Free Member

    What do other people put in their camelbaks if not plain water?

    I have water in my camelbak and then a bottle of something electrolytey on the frame.

    If it’s a longer ride, i might put the electrolytey stuff in the camelbak and water in the bottle, easier to find a place to refill water, than electrolyte!

    (have in the past taken old 35mm film cases or similar with electrolyte or energy powder in them for refilling bottles.)

    Just drinking water in any sort of heat is going to make you feel rough as.

    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    My thoughts on the too tight helmet

    kiwizak
    Free Member

    Whats the tempreture. I get a headache if my head get too cold.

    riggsy
    Free Member

    I suffer with this too, I get migraines after a hard ride when I haven’t drunk enough

    bikerevivesheffield
    Full Member

    @Kojaklollipop very interesting. I’ve ongoing issues with head ache and neck ache/trap pain when riding my mtb with very wide bars. When riding my gravel bike it’s fine!

    I’m going to look into this

    verses
    Full Member

    How thoroughly do you clean your camelbak or bottles?

    I was getting headaches on rides a few years ago, after a while I worked out it was only when I used my camelbak and not with bottles.  On further investigation I had a build up of black gunge in the bite valve.

    A thorough clean and several milton tablets later and all’s good again.

    Kojaklollipop
    Free Member

    That’s  clearly nonsense as I’d be riding 860 wide bars. Surely it should be related to shoulder width and that doesn’t vary with height.

    You must be about 6 1/2 feet tall then? Anyway, this is the article, for me it works out about 780mm which is about the same as when I do that old press up test thing as well, and works out to be about the most comfortable for bars for me anyway.

    Quick and easy way to find your ideal MTB handlebar width

    Also, most of us probably have weak or bad neck/shoulders from sitting slouched at pc’s or driving so when you ride it’ll aggrivate it, it’s a good idea to do some stretching and strenghthening in those areas before and after rides.

    StuartC
    Free Member

    Migraine sufferer here, think I’m starting to build a relationship between a hard ride and migraine.

    For me it looks to be if heart rate goes past a certain figure, regardless of temperature or hydration and stuff, it’s almost as if I blow a pop off valve.  Are you tracking your heart rate to see of you can make a link?

    Oddly for me the “episode” seems to hit the following day.  I can ride in the morning 1 day and if I push too much and get the heart rate into the high 180’s then it’s the next morning I wake up dead.


    @johnstell
    , I have a slight worry off this.  MRI’d last year and some small vessel “changes” were noted, but no mention of “By the way that means calm the heck down”.  Not sure whether I’m doing my self help or harm by carrying on riding…

    sparky
    Free Member
    Same here, when I used to race I dreaded the inevitable really bad headache after.
    Now not so bad, but still get them after a hard ride.
    I've tried drinking more etc and for me, no amount of drinking/eating or electrolytes made the slightest difference.
    
    Stevet1
    Free Member

    Thanks for all the replies, lots to go at there. Seems quite a common issue. I’ll definitely be using some sort of electrolyte solution next time to see if that helps. It was a warm day so I think dehydration may seems the likely cause. Will check helmet straps as well. Bars are 750mm wide, don’t think they’re an issue but interesting nonetheless. Could be over exertion too I guess, I don’t get out anywhere as often as I used to, and normally only do a localish 2 hr ride mostly sessioning drops etc so am a bit out of condition for a ‘proper’ ride.

    Will check my camelbak as well for hidden nasties. tbh that’s one reason I normally only use water in it, to reduce mould etc growth.

    mrbadger
    Free Member

    My money is on neck muscles causing it!

    jeb
    Full Member

    Go to a good chiropractor 🙂

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