Sudden "Blackouts"

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    Feb 19, 2012 5:27 AM GMT
    Hey guys, so recently I've experiencing quick and sudden "blackouts" when I'm lifting. This only happens I'm doing heavy sets of cleans or military presses. Right after I lift up the weights to start the set, my vision just started fading for about half a second, and sometimes I would sort of lose feelings on either my arms or legs. My grip on the bar however doesn't change.
    Has this ever happen to anyone? My guess is it might have something to do with the high weight sets compressing on the nerves, but I have no problem with dead lifts or squats.
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    Feb 19, 2012 5:32 AM GMT
    Sounds like it's a nerve affected by similar motions of weights being lifted above your head. Or, still based on the similar movement, it may be the position of your head/neck whiel doing the exercise that is either pressing on a nerve or impacting blood flow.
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    Feb 19, 2012 2:41 PM GMT
    The weird thing is my gym buddy said that it's never happened to him before, and he said my form seems fine.
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    Feb 19, 2012 2:45 PM GMT
    This is a medical question that can't be answered through a forum. Prepare yourself for some trolling.

    I'd advise that you go and see a physician to localize the diagnosis a bit better.
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    Feb 19, 2012 2:52 PM GMT
    See a doctor without delay.
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    Feb 19, 2012 2:53 PM GMT
    Yeah I already set up an appointment with the office, but it won't be till next week, and since the MD's specialized in internal medicine... she's probably gonna refer me to someone else like she always does when I have problems due to physical activities... icon_sad.gif.
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    Feb 19, 2012 3:01 PM GMT
    Prob compression of the vagus nerve or possibly some arteries/veins in your neck while lifting. The problem is you could actually pass out, injuring yourself.

    Needless to say avoid exercises where this happens.

    If it does happen, you can quickly resolve it by sitting down. Lying is preferable but I assume you don't want to look crazy in the gym icon_razz.gif
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    Feb 19, 2012 3:37 PM GMT
    Haha I've done far more embarrasing things at the gym before, well only at the school gym.

    Having a hard time staying away from it actually icon_sad.gif. It sucks cause I've been getting great progress from doing those exercises.
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    Feb 19, 2012 3:40 PM GMT
    That can't be good, dude. You might wanna go see a doctor about that because that could be dangerous and you might end up hurting yourself if it happens again while working out. You might blackout and stay blacked out permanently.
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    Feb 19, 2012 3:47 PM GMT
    Seriously, stop doing those exercises until your doctor clears you. What do you think could happen when you pass out (what you're describing is syncope which can happen through nerve compression/agitation caused by the lifting)? Those weights get above your head, you pass out and they com falling back down on you. Then you hit the floor and the weights hit you again. If you're describing a loss of feeling in your arms and/or legs, then the effected nerves could most likely be located in your spinal column. If they're impacted by your lifting, imagine how much more catastrophic that impact could be in a fall where you pass out?

    Take a break and be safe.
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    Feb 19, 2012 3:48 PM GMT
    Bahston617 saidHaha I've done far more embarrasing things at the gym before, well only at the school gym.

    Having a hard time staying away from it actually icon_sad.gif. It sucks cause I've been getting great progress from doing those exercises.


    Have you tried other shoulder movements or excercises?
  • nanidesukedo

    Posts: 1036

    Feb 19, 2012 6:20 PM GMT
    Bahston617 saidHey guys, so recently I've experiencing quick and sudden "blackouts" when I'm lifting. This only happens I'm doing heavy sets of cleans or military presses. Right after I lift up the weights to start the set, my vision just started fading for about half a second, and sometimes I would sort of lose feelings on either my arms or legs. My grip on the bar however doesn't change.
    Has this ever happen to anyone? My guess is it might have something to do with the high weight sets compressing on the nerves, but I have no problem with dead lifts or squats.



    There's actually a lot of things going on...It sounds like you are getting pre-syncopal. It's a good thing you are going to see your doctor. When you lift weights, you "valsalva" which causes the intrathoracic pressure to increase, which cuts off venous return, leading to decreased cardiac output... Many people can tolerate this decreased cardiac output temporarily without having hypoxic side-effects to the brain. However, this maneuver appears to be affecting you.

    There are several benign things that can cause this that can be corrected...and there are several serious things that could be causing this that also need to be evaluated for. You should take it easy before seeing your doc to make sure you don't pass out while lifting those weights - dropping heavy weights on yourself would not be a good thing :p .
  • leoschimp

    Posts: 5

    Feb 19, 2012 8:37 PM GMT
    have you IM doc keep "subclavian steal syndrome" in the differentials. you will need a vascular work up. IM docs are the best icon_wink.gif
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    Feb 19, 2012 8:39 PM GMT
    Cancer.. 100%
  • nanidesukedo

    Posts: 1036

    Feb 19, 2012 8:46 PM GMT
    leoschimp saidhave you IM doc keep "subclavian steal syndrome" in the differentials. you will need a vascular work up. IM docs are the best icon_wink.gif


    This was ones of the more the severe diagnoses I was getting at...but, the likelihood is low...It's such a cool syndrome though...always on every medical board exam or licensing exam.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    Feb 19, 2012 8:46 PM GMT
    asnextdoor saidSee a doctor without delay.


    ^^^^ This ^^^^ blacking out is not really normal and could be a signal of something serious. Definitely see a doctor ASAP
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    Feb 19, 2012 8:46 PM GMT
    I'm pretty sure that doesn't sound like it is supposed to happen, lol
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    Feb 19, 2012 9:01 PM GMT
    I've known 2 people that has happened too- and they weren't getting enough salt in thier diets- which gave them low blood pressure and a couple other things

    But like everyone else has said- check with your doctor
    Good luck ;)

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    Feb 19, 2012 9:11 PM GMT
    HYDRATE.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 19, 2012 9:19 PM GMT
    Squintz saidHYDRATE.


    Usually it means you're dehydrated.
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    Feb 19, 2012 9:24 PM GMT
    Uhm, that's really scary. It's unlikely for your optic nerves (vision) to be compressed at the same time as you having paresthesias of your arms/legs. They travel in different circuits and your optic nerve isn't around any type of bony structure that would impinge upon it given what you're doing. To me it suggests you're looking at a vascular problem. It's troubling that it's happening at the same time as you lift --> it suggests you might be showing signs of an impending aneurysm. Generally, loss of vision problems are considered medical emergencies, so I would recommend you see your primary care provider (and probably a neurologist) pronto. *You can't replace your vision once you lose it*. I would also counsel against lifting (or any other type of straining) until you get cleared. There are a bunch of notorious aneurysms that occur in weight lifters because of the increased vascular pressure that occurs during lifting. The most deadly is probably the berry aneurysm:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intracranial_berry_aneurysm

    I highly recommend you see a neurologist ASAP.

    Bahston617 saidHey guys, so recently I've experiencing quick and sudden "blackouts" when I'm lifting. This only happens I'm doing heavy sets of cleans or military presses. Right after I lift up the weights to start the set, my vision just started fading for about half a second, and sometimes I would sort of lose feelings on either my arms or legs. My grip on the bar however doesn't change.
    Has this ever happen to anyone? My guess is it might have something to do with the high weight sets compressing on the nerves, but I have no problem with dead lifts or squats.
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    Feb 19, 2012 9:25 PM GMT
    Uh, if it only happens when you're doing heavy sets of cleans or military presses, that usually means you need to lower the weight.

    You're pushing yourself for no good reason. Lower the weight!
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    Feb 19, 2012 9:28 PM GMT
    I knew a guy that died last year after a few of those.
  • nanidesukedo

    Posts: 1036

    Feb 19, 2012 9:34 PM GMT
    peterstrong saidsee a chiropractor


    Epic fail.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4863

    Feb 19, 2012 9:45 PM GMT
    It may be that the way you breathe has something to do with the problem. Or, perhaps a mild aerobic warm-up before lifting would solve the problem. I found that I often became light-headed when using the glute machine at the gym. I solved the problem by doing the glute exercises first, immediately after warming up on an exercise bicycle, then inhaling before lifting and exhaling while lifting; excessive breathing contributed to the problem. I had a similar problem with quad exercises but had to stop doing them because of knee problems.

    Except for the fact that you could seriously injure yourself while lifting, it probably isn't a serious problem. However, it is important to get checked out by a doctor who is experienced and competent in that area of medicine unless you can find a solution; I believe in experimentation. Your internist should be able to make an appropriate referral.

    When I was a kid, we learned how to make ourselves pass out briefly. It was done by hyperventilating while in a squatting position then quickly standing up and compressing the air in our lungs. I did it only twice; the after effects were very unpleasant for me. You may be experiencing a mild version of that.