Do cycling helmets cause headaches?


There are many types of headache and some can be very dangerous. Please do not attempt to self diagnosis, instead consult a healthcare professional to establish the exact cause.

Chiropractors can help with the following types of headaches:

Helmets and external compression headaches

Anyone who wears a helmet or head gear can suffer from external compression headaches, particularly if wearing them for prolonged periods. These headaches can cause issues in cyclists, construction workers, police officers, athletes etc. In relation to cycling shorter rides often aren’t an issue, but as your distance increases you may start to notice headaches.

Different brands and models of helmet can be slightly different shapes. Try on a few different options before purchasing your helmet, to give you an idea of comfortable. Don’t be swayed completely by cosmetics or a specific brand as all our head shapes are slightly different. It’s far more important you have a good quality and comfortable helmet to enjoy the ride.

Our Cycling Chiropractor Karen says:

I had my previous helmet for a few years and never suffered from external compression headaches. It wasn’t until I really got into long distance cycling 4- 6 hours that I started to feel the discomfort mount, clearly noticing a relief when I removed my helmet.

What does an external compression headache feel like?

The pain is frequently described as a moderate constant pressure headache. Often worse the longer the helmet is worn and at the contact points of the helmet. Usually the headache will have disappeared within 1 hour of the helmet being removed.

Other basics to consider if you experience headaches cycling:

  • Hydration – Make sure you drink enough water and replenish electrolytes if cycling longer than 1hour. Also make sure you keep hydrated in the days leading up to longer rides.
  • Nutrition – A famous term in the cycling world is ‘bonking’ also known as ‘hitting the wall’. This is when your fuel reserves are so depleted you have nothing left to power you through. This can make you unable to complete your ride and make you feel like you need to sleep. Eating regular carbohydrates is recommended if you are cycling over 90minutes.

If you’d like to check out more cycling blogs by our cycling Chiropractor Karen check out our blog here.

Many cyclists can suffer from external compression headaches, headaches caused by helmets or tight head wear. If you’ve started increasing your helmet use you may start to notice tension building. There are also many other causes to discomfort in the head and neck when cycling so why not book your Chiropractic consultation near Aldgate to find out what’s causing your headache cycling and what you can do to relieve it.

You can book online, call 0203 633 0565 or email us