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Migraines after cycling

edited 18 May at 8:32AM in Public Transport & Cycling
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BallardBallard Forumite
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edited 18 May at 8:32AM in Public Transport & Cycling
If I cycle more than about two hours I'm more or less guaranteed to end up with a migraine which I can't shift. I'm pretty sure that it's all to do with my neck which is generally quite tense anyway. I regularly move my head position during the ride, looking up, down, left & right to try to mitigate the stress. I've asked about my bike setup in my local cycle shop and they say that it's just about right but I will try to get a second opinion when we are able to get within a couple of metres of people again.

It's probably not a major issue as I don't generally either want or have time to do more than about 30 miles anyway but I'm interested to hear if anyone else has this problem. In an ideal world I'd get a regular massage which helps but again, not possible at the moment. I had one on a beach on holiday once which ended with the woman grabbing my head and twisting it one way then the other. a loud crack each side which scared the life out of me but it was so good afterwards. If I could get that once a week I'm sure that I'd e fine.
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  • Apjs87Apjs87 Forumite
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    Get a proper bike fit if I were you. Worth every penny and will help to get to the bottom of any problems. Migraines can be caused by lack of hydration. I used to get headaches however I’ve changed by post ride routine. As soon as I’m in, large glass of milk. Keep drinking water after this say every thirty minutes. Eat within an hour of getting in too. Hopefully this helps
  • BallardBallard Forumite
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    I initially thought that it would be a hydration issue but I started drinking a lot of water during the ride. sipping before I was thirsty and continuing regularly. I got through litres during  a four hour ride and had pints of water/milkshake when I got home. This was several years ago but none of it had any effect so I'm putting it down to a posture issue.

    Your suggestion of a proper fit does make sense and I will look to get it sorted once things are calmer virus-wise. I've just got back from a short ride where the chain came off and got stuck which was frustrating and made me think about getting a new bike at some point. 
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  • Nebulous2Nebulous2 Forumite
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    You are better with medical advice than random guesses on the internet however, do you wear sunglasses / cycling glasses?

     I’ve had a problem with migraines caused by direct sunlight since I was a teenager.  Driving seems to be particularly bad. I always keep a pair of sunglasses in the car. I rarely cycle without eye protection of some kind. I’m hoping over 40 years of wearing sunglasses in sunlight has given me some protection against cataract! 
  • BallardBallard Forumite
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    I wear photochromic glasses so they do protect my eyes fairly well and my helmet also shades my eyes to an extent so I don’t think that it’s that. I once went out early morning wearing prescription sunglasses as it was a gorgeous morning. 20 minutes later I was in thick fog which isn’t the best weather conditions for sunglasses!

    i take the point about seeking medical advice but I was more interested whether other people have this issue rather than asking for a cure. 
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  • Johnmcl7Johnmcl7 Forumite
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    Ballard said:
    I initially thought that it would be a hydration issue but I started drinking a lot of water during the ride. sipping before I was thirsty and continuing regularly. I got through litres during  a four hour ride and had pints of water/milkshake when I got home. This was several years ago but none of it had any effect so I'm putting it down to a posture issue.


    What about food, are you eating enough?  I get terrible migraine like headaches if I don't eat enough for a ride and nothing shifts them whereas paracetamol will usually ease a migraine for me.  I find it's easy to get caught out as even doing the same ride it can be quite different depending on the weather and even a shorter ride can be tougher than expected if it's windy and hot.

    Personally I've never had headaches from a bad bike fit, do you feel any pain from your back or neck before the headache comes?
  • bouicca21bouicca21 Forumite
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    OTT But @Nebulous2 I also have always worn sunglasses in sunlight, but I have still developed cataracts.
  • BallardBallard Forumite
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    Johnmcl7 said:
    Ballard said:
    I initially thought that it would be a hydration issue but I started drinking a lot of water during the ride. sipping before I was thirsty and continuing regularly. I got through litres during  a four hour ride and had pints of water/milkshake when I got home. This was several years ago but none of it had any effect so I'm putting it down to a posture issue.


    What about food, are you eating enough?  I get terrible migraine like headaches if I don't eat enough for a ride and nothing shifts them whereas paracetamol will usually ease a migraine for me.  I find it's easy to get caught out as even doing the same ride it can be quite different depending on the weather and even a shorter ride can be tougher than expected if it's windy and hot.

    Personally I've never had headaches from a bad bike fit, do you feel any pain from your back or neck before the headache comes?
    Thanks for your reply which made interesting reading. I haven’t gone more than 25-30 miles in a couple of years but when I went on longish rides I’d start early morning and have a bowl of porridge beforehand. During the ride I’d have a banana and/or snack along the way. 

    My neck is normally very tense. Whenever I have a massage it gets mentioned. I’ve put my migraines down to effectively looking up all of the time (if you see what I mean). I do get severe back pain once or twice a year where I can’t even stand up but when I’m fine it rarely becomes an issue when I cycle. 
    I hate verisimilitude.
  • StigyStigy Forumite
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    I'm by no means an expert, but I'd imagine helmet fitment could also play a part?
  • tealadytealady Forumite
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    I used to suffer from "dehydration" migraines. Also know someone who had headaches caused by arthritis in the neck.
    I would suggest an eye test along with having a bike check (as APJS87 suggests), that may help.
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  • BallardBallard Forumite
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    Stigy said:
    I'm by no means an expert, but I'd imagine helmet fitment could also play a part?
    That’s not a bad suggestion but I was getting headaches at a time when I didn’t wear a helmet. I didn’t bother with helmets because I thought that they were uncomfortable and hot. It was only after a holiday down under where they are compulsory when I realised that they were neither and are in fact a good idea. 
    I hate verisimilitude.
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