Encyclopedia of Pain

2007 Edition

Primary Exertional Headache

  • Andreas Straube
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29805-2_3535


Weight-Lifter’s Headache; Diver’s Headache; Effort Headache


The headache is precipitated by any form of exercise. Recognized sub-varieties include “weight-lifter’s headache, diver’s headache, effort headache, etc.”


Since a patient with primary exertional headache (pEH) seldom goes to the doctor, there are very few epidemiological studies or reports on treatment options for pEH.

The new classification of the International Headache Society (IHS) provides the following description and diagnostic criteria for pEH.

Diagnostic Criteria

  1. 1.

    Pain is bilateral, throbbing on onset, and short or long-lasting (5 min–48 h)

  2. 2.

    It specifically occurs during or immediately after physical exercise requiring exertion.

  3. 3.

    There is a close temporal relationship between pain and physical exercise, particularly in hot weather or at high altitude.

  4. 4.

    The headache is prevented by avoiding excessive exertion.

  5. 5.

    It cannot be attributed to any other disorder.



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Straube
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyLudwig Maximilians UniversityMunichGermany