Medical Need to Know

GP Juliet McGrattan answers more of your health questions

Rough running
Is it OK to try to run off a hangover? I am not a big drinker but feel pretty rough after a couple of glasses of wine – usually I skip the running. Could it actually help?

Sadly you can’t ‘sweat off’ a hangover. Whether you run really depends on how much you’ve drunk and how you feel. A run might help by making you feel a bit clearer in the head but if you were drunk and wake up feeling awful then it’s wise to miss it. Alcohol causes dehydration and interferes with blood sugar levels, making running risky. Your body is also slower at clearing lactic acid so you’ll feel weaker and tire more easily. If you do run then hydrate as much as possible beforehand and take it slowly.

All in the head
I always get a headache after a long run, it seems to start half an hour or so after I’ve stopped. Is this anything to worry about and what can
I do about it?

As there’s a gap between your running and your headache then it’s unlikely to be a serious condition. Many runners find this happens if they’re dehydrated or their blood sugar levels fall. The key seems to be eating and drinking sufficiently immediately after a run. Try having an electrolyte drink and a healthy snack within half an hour of stopping.

Pain in the neck
I started running about six months ago and, since then, I’ve been getting neck pain. It’s worse when I wake up in the morning and eases as the day goes on – could running be to blame?

This sounds like a muscular pain. It might not be the running but check your running posture. Hold your head high and pull your shoulders back. During a run, intermittently give your arms a bit of a shake out and shrug your shoulders up and down. Try to stay relaxed. Do some simple neck exercises during the day and if things don’t improve then seek a physio assessment.

Period problems
My partner and I are hoping to try for a baby later in the year. My periods can sometimes be irregular and he thinks I should stop running to help, but I don’t see how this would work. Who’s right?

Periods can be irregular for a number of reasons. They can stop altogether if you train very heavily and have a low percentage of body fat. In this instance, stopping running might lead to return of a regular menstrual cycle. Other conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome can cause infrequent periods too and stopping running won’t help. If it’s only the odd one that’s out of sync then it’s most likely nothing to worry about but if it’s a regular occurrence and you want to get pregnant then you should see your GP to discuss it.

Quick health fact
An inactive person is three times more likely to suffer moderate or severe depression compared to an active person. Grab your trainers for a boost of happy hormones.


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