Are Headaches After Sparring Normal? (Causes & Preventions)

Whether you’re sharpening your offense or want to work on your defensive techniques, sparring provides you with that controlled environment to improve upon your skills. But, what about the headaches you’re experiencing after sparring? Let see:

So, Are Headaches After Sparring Normal?

Mild headaches after sparring are completely normal in the initial training phase. With constant blows to your head, sparring causes tight neck muscles, which can trigger headaches. These discomforts usually stop within a month and may not be serious unless you’re also experiencing blurred vision or speech issues.

Further in this guide, I’ll also give you the exact solution to get rid of these headaches as fast as possible and break it down for you. Keep reading:

Why Do You Get Headaches After Sparring?

While it’s completely normal to get headaches occasionally especially if you’re in the beginning stage, making progress in boxing and gradually going up with the sparring intensity.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons:

1. Dehydration

Intensive boxing training can lead to lots of sweating which results into the issue of dehydration. This is one of the very common reasons why many fighters experience nausea and headache pain during or after the sparring session.

Being dehydrated even by 2% can significantly affect your performance in the ring.

Water helps you to cool down your internal system while maintaining the blood flow and oxygen supply to your brain. That’s why it is very important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your sparring session as per the intensity and duration of your training.

2. Wrong Sparring Partner

Even after taking all the possible care, many people experience headaches because they practice sparring with the guys that were a few weight classes above them.

In such situations, you should ask your sparring partner is go light on his punches. This is very important because even if you think you’re not doing any hard sparring, it’s possible to get a hard hit than you thought at that point.

headaches after sparring

You should try to spar with the people close to your weight class and try to avoid any unnecessary mileage to your brain. Just ask your buddy to take down a notch and stop him if he’s not.

3. Nutrition Levels

This is another possible reason behind your dizziness and a sudden rush of fatigue after sparring. Many people experience headaches after intense boxing training due to low blood sugar levels.

In addition to water, our body also requires different electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Their imbalance during or after the sparring can also contribute to your headaches.

You need to be mindful of your pre-workout as well as post-workout nutrition. You should plan meals properly that offer you an adequate amount of protein with a moderate amount of carbohydrates.

It not only regulates your blood sugar levels but also helps your body to recover faster and rebuild muscle tissues that were damaged during the training session.

4. Headgear

Another not very common reason behind your headaches is bad protective headgear. If your headgear does not snugly fit around your head, it can cause problems and might lead to an unwanted headache.

Some people also get benefited by switching to Mexican-style headgear (like this one). It does limit your visibility a little but really seems to absorb more damage and offers great protection to your cheek and chin area than regular competition headgear.

With that said:

Let me break down the solution into three major segments:

How Do You Get Rid of a Headache After Boxing?

Let me jump straight to the solution and solve this issue from its roots.

1. Proper Warm Up and Stretching Routine

A thorough warm-up routing is very essential before getting started with your sparring session. It not only loosens your muscles but also increases the blood flow toward your brain and mentally prepares you for the intensive physical activity ahead.

The aches are more likely to come from neck tightening as you’re constantly taking punches to your head. Along with that, clenching your jaws can also contribute to it.

That’s why you should include a variety of dynamic stretches in your routing, which can reduce the tension and loosen up your neck and shoulders, allowing you to enter the ring to your fullest potential.

In addition to that:

You need to be mindful of your pre-workout meal and your overall nutrition levels. Always try to keep yourself hydrated and follow an appropriate diet plan that fulfills your body’s requirements completely and is able to sustain energy levels.

2. Wearing Specific Gears During Sparring

You might be already aware of the role of a well-fitted headgear during the sparring session. I like to think of it as an extra layer of protection that automatically absorb and spread the impact of intense hits, which reduces the risk of headaches.

In addition to the headgear, I would also recommend you wear specific protective gear, such as mouthguards, and even padded gloves if required.

If you’re experiencing headaches on a regular basis, try to reduce the intensity of your training. I can try limiting the number of direct hits you’re taking on the face and head.

3. After Sparring Care

Stretching your body a little after an intense sparring session can be beneficial to relax your muscles as well as your mind. It helps you to calm down and get you out of that fighting zone.

Many people recommend taking post-workout nutrition to stay hydrated and maintain the required energy levels, especially if you’re experiencing persistent pain along with severe nausea.

Not to mention, giving proper rest to your muscles is also very important. Being mindful of your sleep cycle helps you to recover faster and give your best during the sparring session.

Here’re a few other things you can try:

4. Seek Medication

Even though, headaches are quite common among athletes after intense training sessions, but I suggest you pay attention to their frequency, duration, and of course intensity.

Unless you’re experiencing a full-on headache after your sparring session that lasts for days, you should not go for anti-inflammatory medication or any painkillers.

If you’re experiencing persistent or worsening headaches, it might indicate a serious underlying issue and require medical help.

Just don’t go overboard with painkillers because they just mask the problem and won’t work when you really need them, especially if you keep on taking them on a regular basis.

5. Cut Down your Caffeine

Cutting down the caffeine is another great way to eliminate slight headaches, especially if you’re getting exertion-related headaches and not due to any major trauma.

I have seen many of my mates gradually decrease their caffeine intake from all sources and cut it off altogether really getting benefitted.

Next Read: Why Boxers Should Not Drink Coffee?

My Final Thoughts on Headaches After Sparring

You need to understand that, while it’s normal to get a light headache from time to time but it’s definitely not normal to experience it regularly for hours after sparring.

If the headache keeps getting worse or you start suffering from dizziness, disorientation, blurred vision, memory/speech issues, or vomiting, which is very rare, I would strongly recommend you go for a doctor’s advice.

Otherwise, keep your hands up, keeps practicing defense, and learn how to slip your opponent’s shot. This is the only way forward to get rid of that annoying headaches and make faster progress in boxing.

Have a Good Day! 🙂


Priya Dorge | Cargofighter

Priya Dorge

Priya Dorge is a passionate boxer and author, dedicated to sharing her expertise in the world of combat sports. With her deep knowledge and experience in empowering individuals in their journey has garnered a loyal following, making her a trusted resource in the martial arts community.