I often get a really bad head which comes on when I am out running, my head pounds. What might be causing this?



Dear Zoe,

Dehydration and lack of adequate nutrition can be a trigger for headaches in runners. Headaches can also be caused by stiffness in the joints in the upper part of the neck and the adjacent muscles. In a static position i.e. sitting or standing do you keep a good head/neck alignment or does your chin poke forwards? If the latter sounds more like your posture then your headaches could be postural in origin. The average head weighs around 10lbs and if not positioned correctly, it can exert a huge load on the superficial neck muscles. These muscles attach to the base of the skull and when they become overactive can reproduce headaches. It is therefore possible that a poor head and neck posture when running for long distances could be overloading your neck muscles and inducing your headaches. I would recommend that you see a chartered physiotherapist with experience in treating sports and spinal conditions. They will be able to assess you properly to ascertain the exact origin of your headaches.

Kind regards Angela Benjamin MSc MCSP Chartered Physiotherapist

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