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Headaches while swimming distances?
I've been getting headaches while swimming anything longer than a quarter mile. I thought it was my cap, ditched it and now think it may be the goggles. The funny thing is when I do sprints I don't get it even though I leave the goggles on the whole time. I just ordered seal goggles thinking the smaller ones may be putting pressure on my sinuses. And they are NOT too tight, trust me.
I don't think your goggles are the problem (I almost spelled that "googles", it's a dumb habit I have) or it might not even be your sinuses but rather your blood oxygen retention levels and possibly blood pressure.
Of course people's sinuses naturally flare up with seasonal stuff coming out and making pollen and all so if you experience this every year around this time I'd say you don't have much to worry about, just take the medicines and you'll do OK. But I've had some killer sinus infections before and when I had those I wasn't even able to do flip turns it was so bad so this is why I'm leaning towards ruling out your sinuses as being the culprit here.
I also have very poor oxygen retention levels and whenever we have to do a hypoxic workout I'm just done after that set. I miss all sorts of regular practice intervals that I should normally make and I also get massive headaches to go along with it. I'd say cut down on your stroke-per breath ratio, like if you're doing a 4:1 ratio right now I'd say cut that to 3:1 or if you're doing 3:1 go with 2/3:1 (alternate 3 strokes and 2 strokes per breath). I've had a lot of experience before with bad blood oxygen retention and also a lot of carbon dioxide buildup. Another idea for this is when you breathe out blow air out of yourself with both your mouth and nose, I actually just discovered this today myself and it cut down on my 300 pull time by at least 5 seconds. I know they say you're suposed to breathe out your nose but I've never been a conventional swimmer anyways.
Lastly, your blood pressure might be a bit of a culprit here but of course I'm no doctor. Your body actually has 2 critical pressures: your blood pressure and also your cerebral pressure in your head. Doctors like these to be at a certain ratio but I don't know what the numbers are but pressure in your head is not fun. If you're concious when these ratios go off funny it's not fun or so I've heard. They'll give you some really bad headaches but of course these imbalances are mainly triggered by severe brain trauma and I don't think that you'd be banging your head on a wall over a bad swim so this isn't too likely.
Billy please visit a doctor - Good Luck
Ah, I had the same thing happen to me this swim season! I got rid of my silicon cap and tried a cloth one, but that would only help a little bit. Have you had a cold lately? Mine turned out to be because of a sinus infection, so if you have been sick that could be your problem..... you should see a doctor, it will only be a continuous and annoying problem. Good luck with the swimming! = ]
Hey Billy, I have get a headache doing anything more than a mile in open water or anything in the pool over a 500. My doctor told me it's because of my sinuses, which have always been a thorn in my side anyways. My advice is to see your doctor as a precaution. If they find a problem maybe they can fix it.
My doctor said "if it hurts, don't do it, but it's up to you." So I basically just learned to suck it up and deal with it because I love swimming so much. Before I race I always take my sinus meds and Excedrin to help ease the aftermath. It doesn't eliminate the sinus pain completely but it DEF helps me. On practice days and training swims I usually have taken my meds in the morning and might only require a bit more Excedrin or Ibuprofen afterward. On really long shitty days I end up having to take an Imitrex (migraine pill) after racing. but it's worth it for me since my problem isn't life threatening or anything.
Good luck, feel better!
USAT triathlete, competitive open-water distance swimmer, sinus-pain sufferer, YMCA swim coach
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