For many individuals, regular exercise has been shown to reduce headaches by releasing endorphins. These hormones act as the body’s painkillers.
However, for a non-insignificant portion of the population, exercise can also trigger a headache.
So what is going on when you get a headache from activities like jumping on a trampoline? And more importantly, how do you resolve it?
Trampolines do not cause headaches. However, they can effectively signal to us when there is a problem with our bodies that we may be ignoring (consciously or subconsciously).
Below are some possible issues that are likely to cause the headache, as well as some suggestions for how to resolve the issue (without forgoing your trampoline altogether!).
Too Much Tension in the Neck
Occasionally, new trampolines can cause you to suffer from headaches. Headaches result from tight muscles in the neck, chest, and/or shoulders.
Some unlucky individuals may feel increased pressure and tightness in those muscles when they start to jump on a trampoline, and when they stop, the pain disappears as well.
If you are one of the few people who experience headaches when they jump on the trampoline, the answer is relatively simple: you must release the tension in your neck.
This may be accomplished with some simple, light stretching exercises like those found in yoga, taking a warm shower or bath, applying heat or ice to the affected area, or getting a massage to help release the tension in that area.
Some people may need to apply several different techniques to relieve the tension in their neck, chest, or shoulders – everyone is a little bit different, so find what solution works best for you.
Sometimes, headaches can be brought on from just the act of jumping on a trampoline. This often means that, when jumping, you are not landing softly enough, causing your muscles to absorb the shock of impact rather than your joints.
One solution is to start with less vigorous activity and slowly building up to higher levels of activity. This may mean that, initially, your trampoline time will be strictly limited and you won’t be able to execute any fancy tricks.
However, as your body adjusts to the unique environment a trampoline creates and you learn how to balance, land correctly, and absorb impact, you will be able to increase the amount of time spent on the trampoline and the vigorousness of your activity level.
One reason you may be experiencing a headache is due to dehydration. A dehydration headache is caused by not having enough fluid in the body.
When you are dehydrated, the brain can temporarily contract (slightly!) from the fluid loss. In turn, this causes the brain to pull away from the skull, resulting in pain in the form of a headache.
Headaches can also result from rebounding on a trampoline if, shortly prior to rebounding, you have consumed alcohol or taken medications.
The solution here is to simply rehydrate.
Once your brain can reabsorb enough water, it will return to its normal size and you will feel some much-needed relief. This is not a suggestion to drink a gallon of water before jumping up and down on the trampoline.
Rather, on days that you are jumping on the trampoline, make sure you are consuming enough water throughout the day. Keep a water bottle by you and, if you are particularly forgetful, set reminders in your phone to drink enough water.
Lack of Sleep
A lack of sleep can trigger headaches in some people – and this is especially true when paired with other stressors (such as dehydration or exertion headaches, below).
Scientifically, the lack of sleep may reduce the body’s tolerance for pain, making us more prone to headaches.
Generally, the best solution here is to try to address the issues preventing you from getting sufficient sleep and aim to get better rest. Additionally, you may want to forego the trampoline for an afternoon nap on days when you have not been able to get a good night’s sleep.
You can reschedule your trampoline exercise either for after your nap or on a day when you are likely to get better quality sleep.
Exertion headaches are a type of headache caused by physical activity. Although the type and vigorousness of activity that triggers a headache can vary from person to person, it often includes some type of sustained, strenuous exercise.
There are several solutions to an exertion headache. First, you can prevent exertion headaches by stretching and doing warm-up exercises. Exertion headaches often occur when someone very suddenly exerts a lot of effort or energy into a physical activity.
The way to remedy that is to ease yourself into it slowly and to build the intensity and duration of your preferred exercise over the next several months.
Sometimes, exertion headaches are a result of your environment and geographical conditions.
For example, if you notice exertion headaches during particularly hot temperatures or at higher altitudes, your exertion headaches may be tied to these types of external factors.
Unfortunately, there are limited solutions to this type of problem. Ideally, you would be able to avoid the geographical conditions that trigger a headache. However, this is not reasonable for everyone.
You may want to try warming up in the environmental conditions that prompt a headache, building the level of energy or exertion up week by week.
Exertion headaches can be resolved with medication – specifically beta blockers. Some studies show that Indomethacin is an effective medication that can be taken as necessary, particularly prior to a known trigger (such as exercise).
However, it is intended for short-term use and would not be recommended to someone who is experiencing repeated exertion-induced headaches over a long period of time.
Make sure you are listening to your body! If a trampoline is triggering headaches, it is likely that the trampoline is simply underscoring an existing issue that has gone unresolved.
Instead of giving up on the trampoline, try to listen more closely to your body to determine what the likely cause of your headache is and how to treat it.