Today I was a little sick but I still went to the gym to do my workout. I had a really annoying consistent headache.

A friend of mine warned me not to do all the sets because i could damage my brain from high blood pressure. Well he had no convincing argument so I didn't stop. However I am wondering if it is true and if there are other things I should consider.

What are the dangers of working out with a headache apart from passing out?

  • "could damage my brain from high blood pressure" Am not sure if there is any historical precedence of someone damaging brain due to high blood pressure caused by working out.
    – PravinCG
    Dec 20, 2016 at 7:09
  • @PravinCG I think the logic comes from strokes and brain hemorrhages which can be caused by high blood pressure. But that is high blood pressure for a very prolonged period of time. A workout could, in theory, cause issues to someone who already has high blood pressure since it would raise the blood pressure even more. I highly doubt the average person with a sinus headache wouldn't suffer anything long-term.
    – DeeV
    Dec 20, 2016 at 14:40

2 Answers 2


It actually depends on the type of headache you have.

If you've been sleep derived or have a headache due to hunger and have been feeling weak, it is advised to not do a high intensity workout.

On the other hand, if your headache is, well, just a headache, working out can be really helpful. Exercising and working out releases hormones and chemicals like serotonin, endorphins and dopamine. All three of those provide pain relief and a change in mood (in a good way).

All in all, it's never bad to exercise. :D


It is always good not to workout when you are not feeling well as you will be unable to give your best performance. Your headache might be from lack of sleep, work stress, sudden change in climate . In such a case working out may result in INJURIES so your body is not exactly fresh or in mood to perform the sets. Take a day off and see if the headache persists else consult a doctor. Note working out when you are undergoing stressful times, or suffering from lack of sleep may also lead to cardiac arrest. Stay safe and get well soon. So it is better you take a day off from working out.

  • Well, it was due to a climate change. I also don't train to failure often so I was able to do all the sets with no problem in technique. The problem is that after every set, especially in squats, I felt like someone was piercing my brain with a needle.
    – MattSt
    Dec 20, 2016 at 9:08
  • Also, how does it have no benefit for the body? I did all the sets that I would do even if I didn't have a headache. Thus, I accumulated the same amount of volume for my muscles to grow.
    – MattSt
    Dec 20, 2016 at 9:11

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