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I Have Bad Headaches After Rolling In Jiu Jitsu. What Can I Do To Alleviate This?

I Have Bad Headaches After Rolling In Jiu Jitsu. What Can I Do To Alleviate This?

Are you suffering from head pain after intense BJJ sparring? Do headaches often affect your concentration while rolling? Do you want to relieve your severe headaches after BJJ rolling? Keep reading this blog post and by the end, you will find valuable tips to practice this combat without any head pain.

Careless training for BJJ submission techniques has a major contribution to your head pain. Now you are thinking about how these techniques can cause severe headaches after BJJ training. So let's know more about the chemistry behind the head pain because of the strenuous grappling techniques.

1. Grappling Costs: Bad Headaches

When you get involved in extensive BJJ practices, your body needs extra oxygen. Your arteries and veins expand to maintain the blood oxygen level. This expansion ultimately increases the blood flow in your body. This increased blood flow exerts extra pressure on your skull which causes severe headaches after hard BJJ training.

2. Causes of Headaches After BJJ

According to the National Headaches Foundation, strenuous exercise (like BJJ) can cause exertional headaches. However, when we talk about exertional headaches, they are less painful as compared to migraine and it can last from five minutes to 48 hours.

Exertional headaches often referred to as bilateral, means you may suffer pulsating pain and also feel pain on both sides of your forehead.

The main reasons that may cause head pain are:

2.1. Low Oxygen Level

Intense grappling practices can cause low oxygen levels and cause head pains.

2.2. Dehydration

As BJJ exercises require rigorous training. You are prone to lose minerals due to extreme sweating which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause severe head pain.

2.3. Low Sugar Level

Hypoglycemia becomes the source of headaches after rolling and sparring. It means the supply of the body's main energy source (glucose) is getting reduced, so you should take a proper diet before BJJ training to maintain sugar levels.

3. How To Diagnose Exertion Headaches

If BJJ practitioners experience persistent and severe headaches after their grappling classes, then they should take it seriously and consult their medical officer. BJJ practitioners must pay serious attention and go to a medical expert to diagnose the main cause of the headache. Although exertional headaches are mainly due to hard BJJ training, it's essential to take preventive steps at the right time.

If the head pain is persistent and causes sensational jolts. Following tests can assist in the diagnosis of possible causes of your headaches.

3.1. Spinal Tap

In a spinal tap test, fluid from the spine is taken as a sample and examined.

3.2. MRI

A picture of your brain is taken during MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and examines the point of the problem.

3.3. Angiography

Angiography is done to clearly examine your blood vessels. X-rays fail to show the detailing of your blood vessels. However, doctors inject a special type of dye into your bloodstream that highlights blood vessels and it's easy to detect any problem.

If all these testing doesn't reveal an underlying reason, your doctor can identify exertion headaches if you've experienced at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent Headaches after 48 hours
  • Headache start after BJJ training
  • Headache starts during BJJ practice

4. Prevention And Treatment Of Headache After Sparring

You can prevent head pain by following the preventive measures. However, you can also use supplements suggested by your doctor to alleviate your headaches. Here we have mentioned some precautionary measures that can help you to prevent and reduce headaches.

4.1. Prevention Of Headaches After BJJ

Headaches that are specifically caused by BJJ rolling come and go back quickly. Here is what medical professionals advised you to do if you get headaches brought on by intensive grappling as well as how to prevent it.

Warm Up

Warming up your body before BJJ sparring gradually raises your heart rate and gets your blood flowing, preparing your body for activity helps you in preventing exertion headaches.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration triggers severe headaches. Try to keep your body hydrated before you start your BJJ class. It helps to reduce your head pain. Drinking enough fluid helps you to prevent headaches.

Took Proper Sleep

Try to make a good sleeping schedule of 7,8 hours. It will prevent head pain.

Eat Healthy Food

Make sure to take a proper diet with your BJJ rolling. As an active BJJ practitioner, you need a proper diet with good nutrition. Lack of proper nutrition may contribute to your severe head pain. However, make sure to avoid unhealthy and processed food.

4.2. Treatment of Headaches After BJJ

Headaches caused by BJJ training are usually treated as normal headaches. Make sure to take the medications after the prescription of your doctor.

5. When You Should Go to Doctor

Anytime you experience severe pain that feels like the worst headache you've ever had. When you feel other complications like nausea or visual issues, you should seek medical assistance right away since it could be something serious.

6. Can Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Damage Your Brain?

This is one of the most asked questions regarding BJJ training and fighting. Although there have been numerous studies on the subject and there is still some ambiguity, it is wise to remain cautious.

Excessive pressure during the application of BJJ choking techniques like RNC can disrupt the blood flow to the brain and cause unconsciousness. This would stop the supply of oxygen to your brain and cause damage.

However, the effects vary from person to person. In general, if you've been unconscious for more than 2 minutes, it will damage your brain. Some persons have been reported to have fallen asleep for several minutes before waking up appearing fine.

There is no debate that if you are choked and unconscious for a long enough time, damage can happen. As compared to other disciplines of martial arts, BJJ coaches and practitioners are well-trained to protect themselves and their opponents from any serious injury including brain damage.

7. Can Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Cause CTE?

CTE is a condition that occurs due to continuous hitting to your head. BJJ prohibited any sort of hitting and ensuring safety from the higher risk of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) that other combat martial arts usually lack. It turns out that practicing chokes and, more crucially, being careless about them, can result in catastrophic brain injury called CTE. It is always advised by the coaches that whenever caught in an RNC, immediately tap out, like Conor McGregor tapped when caught in the RNC of Khabib in the most anticipated card of UFC history, UFC 229.

CTE injuries are not ordinary wounds from combat sports. They rarely go away on their own and can significantly affect your quality of life.

8. Can BJJ Cause Concussions?

A concussion is a type of severe brain injury that affects brain functionality. The consequences are typically non-transient. They may include a range of symptoms that are all related to cognitive abilities, balance, and coordination. According to the National Library of Medicine, about 25.2% of BJJ athletes suffer from Concussions.

It's a factual reality that concussions are typically brought on by a blow to the head or by violent shaking, but a hard hit does not always result in one; it really depends on the individual and the type of incident.

Since the majority of BJJ is performed on the ground, there is less chance of concussion.

Common signs and symptoms of concussions are

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Headaches
  • Feeling Heavy Pressure on the Head
  • Ringing in Ear
  • Dizziness

BJJ fighters can secure themselves by refraining from putting body pressure on the head during rolling and fighting. This will reduce the chances of head concussions.

9. FAQs

9.1. How Do BJJ Practitioners Stop Getting Headaches While Sparring?

The best choice to avoid headaches after intensive sparring by taking precautionary measures and the use of prescribed medications by your doctor.

9.2. Should you Resume Jiu Jitsu Practice After a Concussion?

Yes, you should wait until full recovery from a concussion. This recovery period varies from person to person. However, generally, it takes 7-10 days to get ready again for BJJ mats.

9.3. Having Extreme Headache After BJJ. What should I Do?

You should relax your body after hard BJJ training. Maintain a balanced diet. Because this will maintain your blood oxygen level. In most cases, this can be the major cause of your headaches.

10. Conclusion

Strenuous BJJ practice reduces the oxygen level in blood which causes vessels to expand and shoot up the blood flow. Increased levels of blood flow exert more pressure on the brain cells which leads to head pain. Normal headaches after BJJ training usually last for a few minutes until your body balances the oxygen levels. However, in some cases, it may take days or months to alleviate. You can stay cautious from headaches after hard BJJ practice by following different strategies that include staying hydrated, warming up your body, and proper sleep pattern.

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