Swimming & headaches


I think I might know the answer to this one, but every time I swim I get a headache. It's gone shortly after stopping - usually by the time I'm showered and dressed. As I'm swimming more and more in prep. for IMCH, it's a growing issue?

Is it dehydration? I don't suffer when I do long runs or rides so I'm surprised about this. Only other things I can think of are goggles too tight (??) or chemicals in the pool.


  • it wouldn't be dehydration as you say it goes shortly after stopping.... it could be goggles being too tight, or maybe you are screwing your eyes up within the goggs causing a tension type headache?  Why not try a dif pair of goggles - perhaps ones with a bigger face piece so you can be more relaxed in the water with them? 

    If it was chemicals the only way you can really test that theory is to try open water, but I would suggest that would be a bit foolhardy bearing in mind the current weather conditions!!

    Hope you solve it.

  • I this problem and the reason - scowling/straining face muscles when putting swim cap on. Try it and see. Do you raise your eyebrows/tense your forehead when you put your cap on. If so you are locking your face muscles in a tense position and this inevitably leads to headaches. Might sound stupid, but this was my experience and since I have been careful putting my cap on, the headaches have gone. Other possibilities:

    1. Goggles to tight

    2. Dehydration

    3. Not breathing out enough

    4. Pool rage  caused by breast stroker in your lane, compounded by heavy perfume!

  • its even possible that its a sinus tension if you have an allergy?  Do you sneeze a lot afterwards as well/

    Some antil hystamine before or some vaseline round your nose may be worth trying as well
  • I don't waer a swimhat - so that rules that one out.

     I'm not aware of scowling too much or screwing my eyes up, but I'll check next time. Not breathing out sounds promising. I breathe out as I turn my head to breathe in, so maybe I'm not emptying my lungs?

    Thanks for the tips.

    PS The breast strokers in my lane aren't much slower than my front crawl - although I like to think I'm improving. 

  • Loosen your Speedo's      image

    Goggles are my bet as well

  • Just a thought but it might also be coming from your neck -  all the rotation when breathing could lead to cervicogenic headaches.

  • Yep, wot Flipper sed. Could also be coming from jaw muscles if you're tense while you're swimming. Blowing out air while you're under water is a nice easy way of relaxing your jaw muscles...
  • I have had headaches from goggles that are too tight and also from over tightening the rear adjusters on my bike helmet. By just dropping a couple of notches on the googles/helmet removes the headache almost immediately.
  • Yeah I think its tight goggles too.
  • all your breathe oot should be done with your head underwater, perhaps you are turning your head too much to panic breathe out and in while yer gob´s in the air? Thus getting a stiff neck-sore head?

    try bubbleing out your breath while your heads still looking at pool tiles on the bottom, when you rotate ´to breathe in -whole body(feel your hips rotating )like on a spit,  one lens of your gogs should remain  in the water and lungs already empty to accept the breathing in.

    Tis the theory anyway.

  • Thanks for the advice. I'll try it out tonight or tomorrow.....
  • Do you enjoy swimming? If not, do you think it could be tension/stress? Are you truly relaxed in the water - you know how tension in other parts of the body normally ends up travelling up the neck and into the head!
  • try not to whack your head on the bottom as you do the turn at the end.  just a thought...image
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