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Can Migraines Cause Stiff Neck

Preventative Medication And Therapies

How to RELIEVE a STIFF NECK Causing HEADACHES in 30 seconds

If you experience frequent migraines, your GP might discuss preventative medication options with you.

It is important to note that preventatives for migraines are not pain medication, but help to reduce the number of migraines. They take time to work, so the minimum time period required may be three to six months. Contact your GP or specialist for further information. All of these treatments have their advantages and disadvantages and some of the medications might not be suitable for everybody.

You might find that this medication reduces the frequency and severity of your attacks but does not stop them completely. You will need to continue your other migraine treatments when you experience an attack.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that GPs and specialists should consider the following drugs and therapies if they think you might benefit from preventative treatment:

Beta blocking drugs

These drugs are traditionally used to treat angina and high blood pressure. It has been found that certain beta-blockers prevent migraine attacks. Beta-blockers are unsuitable for people with certain conditions.


This drug is typically prescribed for the treatment of epilepsy but has also been found to help reduce the frequency of migraines. Again, it is not suitable for everyone. In particular, women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant should be advised of the associated side effects.



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What Is A Sinus Headache

“If you have neck pain and a headache, you probably don’t have a sinus headache,” says Zubair Ahmed, MD, a neurologist and headache specialist at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Neuro-Restoration in Cleveland. “Neck pain is much more common with migraine or tension headaches.”

“Studies show that most people who complain of sinus headaches really have migraine headaches,” he says. “Sinus pain gets confused with migraine because migraine headaches cause nasal congestion and facial pain.”

Read more:5 Types of Terrible Headaches and How to Ease the Pain

According to the American Migraine Foundation, a very famous study of 30,000 people diagnosed with migraine, called the American Migraine Study II, found that when migraine was misdiagnosed, the most common diagnosis was sinus headache. Yet another study evaluated almost 3,000 people with at least six episodes of what they thought were sinus headaches. In close to 90 percent of these people, the real diagnosis turned out to be migraine.

Sinus infections are caused by viruses or bacteria that infect one or more of the sinuses in your head, explains the American Academy of OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgery. Your sinuses connect to your nose through drainage tubes. When a sinus gets infected, it can fill up with pus and mucus. A sinus infection typically lasts for 10 days or more. You may have headache pain, but you will also have some of these common symptoms:

How Upper Cervical Care Differs From General Chiropractic

The results of the studies noted above are very convincing when it comes to the benefits of upper cervical care for migraine patients. However, you may still wonder if upper cervical is right for you or whether you can get the same benefits from seeing just any chiropractor. Here is a little information on what makes upper cervical care unique.

Upper cervical is a unique subset of the chiropractic field. As noted in the studies above, there are several different methods when it comes to how practitioners determine the degree of the misalignment or the way the adjustment is administered to the upper neck. However, there are commonalities between each method, and the primary differences are between upper cervical and general chiropractic. Here are the main things that set upper cervical apart:

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The Link Between Neck Pain And Migraines

Chronic migraines affect around 2% of people across the world, according to The Migraine Trust, and a high number of those affected deal with significant impairment during migraine attacks. More recent studies have shown that many individuals who deal with migraines also experience neck pain. The neck and head are obviously closely connected, but whats the link between neck pain and migraines? Do migraines result in neck pain, or is neck pain causing your migraines?

How Common is Neck Pain Among Migraine Sufferers?

The 2018 Migraine in America survey uncovered the fact that 69% of migraine sufferers surveyed reported dealing with neck pain when they have migraines. Another study published in the Headache journal discovered that among the 113 individuals evaluated, neck pain was more common for migraine patients than nausea. Many people report that the neck pain begins before a migraine, although for many, this precursor goes on to last through the migraine attack, as well.

Migraine Neck-Related Symptoms

With some studies showing that neck pain may be even more common than nausea in migraine sufferers, its important to be aware of some of the symptoms of migraine that are related to pain and discomfort in the neck. These include:

While many people write off the above symptoms as related to neck pain, in many cases they could actually be a sign of a migraine attack.

Causes of Migraine and Neck Pain

Keeping Track of Neck Pain and Other Migraine Symptoms

In Conclusion:

Conditions That May Cause Fever And Migraine

Determining if the Neck is the Cause In Headache and Migraine

If you have a predisposition to migraines, any illness or infection that causes a fever could potentially trigger one. But its also important to keep in mind that, since fever during migraine attacks is considered rare, it could be a sign of a more serious or life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience a high fever accompanied by a severe migraine or migraine symptoms, or if the fever continues for longer than 3 days.

Some conditions that could trigger a migraine with fever include:

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What Does Cervicogenic Headache Feel Like

A cervicogenic headache is when the pain is occurring from a source in the neck, Kumar explains.

Its different from a migraine with neck pain, because unlike migraine, which is a primary headache, cervicogenic headaches are secondary headaches, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

In a primary headache, the headache itself is the main issue and not a symptom of another underlying disease or disorder. In cervicogenic headaches, the pain is caused by an underlying disorder or injury of the neck, such as a tumor, fracture, infection, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis of the cervical spine, or muscle tightness or strain in the neck muscles.

This type of headache can mimic a migraine headache because they are usually on one side of the head and the pain can go from back of the neck and head to the front of the head, says Kumar.

There are key differences between the two types of headache, however: Migraine headaches often have other symptoms, such as visual symptoms and nausea it gets worse with activity, and migraine pain can have a pulsating quality, she says.

Cervicogenic headaches, on the other hand, are often accompanied by reduced range of motion of the neck, according to StatPearls.

Treating A Pinched Nerve In Your Neck

Your doctor may recommend one or a combination of the following treatments:

  • Cervical collar. This is a soft, padded ring that limits motion. It allows the neck muscles to relax.
  • Physical therapy. Following a specific set of guided, physical therapy exercises can strengthen neck muscles, improve range of motion, and relieve pain.
  • Oral medication. Prescription and OTC medications your doctor might recommend to ease pain and reduce inflammation include aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, and corticosteroids.
  • Injections. Steroid injections are used to lessen swelling and relieve pain for a long enough period for the nerve to recover.

Surgery is an option if these less invasive treatments dont work.

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Are There Treatments To Help With Migraine Neck Pain

Trigger point injections could be helpful to improve migraine neck pain, says Kumar. Trigger points are what we often think of as knots in our muscles. In a trigger point injection, a healthcare provider injects a mixture of anesthetic and steroid into the affected area, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

For people who experience headache and migraine that involve more significant neck pain, including people with chronic migraine, occipital nerve blocks are also used, says Kumar. Occipital nerve blocks, which are injected into the back of the head, just above the neck, often contain a long-acting local anesthetic and a steroid anti-inflammatory drug, according to the American Migraine Foundation. The pain-relieving benefits from this procedure can last anywhere from a day to weeks or even months.

Injections of Botox into the neck muscles is another option for treating neck pain related to migraine.

When The Shoulder Is The Suspect

How can we reduce neck pain and stiffness to help decrease your headache or migraine?

Shoulder pain is most often caused by an injury to the rotator cuff, a group of tendons and muscles that stabilize the joint. The rotator cuff develops wear and tear with age, and can be easily injured. When this happens, we compensate by using different muscles to pick things up or reach for them. This may cause both shoulder and neck pain, says Dr. Ricchetti. You may have a rotator cuff injury or other shoulder problem if pain:

  • Develops in the shoulder itself or on the outside of your upper arm.
  • Is dull and aching.

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You Also Have A Stiff Neck Or High Fever

If you have a headache and a fever, you may think its the flu. But add in the telltale symptom of a stiff neck, and you may have meningitis.

The infection, which can be bacterial or viral, affects the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. The swelling of these membranes is what can trigger a headache and stiff neck. You may also have nausea, vomiting or even seizures if you have meningitis. Although meningitis is hard to diagnose because it can mimic other infections, if you have a headache along with these other symptoms, its best to get checked by your doctor.

It Comes On Suddenly And Severely

A brain aneurysm occurs when weak blood vessels in the brain start expanding or ballooning out. Usually they dont cause symptoms, although if they get very big, they can cause headaches. But a ruptured aneurysm, which occurs when the ballooned vessel pops and leaks blood around the brain, can cause a massive, sudden headache.

The classic presentation is the worst headache of your life, says Jonathan J. Russin, MD, assistant professor of clinical neurological surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and a neurosurgeon at Keck Medicine of USC. They call it a thunder clap headache.

It may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, weakness or drowsiness. If you experience a major headache like this, call 911 immediately.

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Common Symptoms Of A Migraine

The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache on 1 side of the head.

The pain is usually a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that gets worse when you move and prevents you carrying out normal activities.

In some cases, the pain can occur on both sides of your head and may affect your face or neck.

Just A Stiff Neck Or Could There Be A Connection Between Headache Neck And Shoulder Pain

Treatments For Stiff Neck Its Symptoms And Causes

When you wake up with a stiff neck, shoulder pain and a headache, its tempting to connect your symptoms and theres a good possibility they are related. But is your neck pain causing headaches, or is your headache and shoulder pain causing your neck to ache? Sometimes the causes of these aches and pains are non-specific, but conditions such as tension headaches can connect all three symptoms.

Other possibilities include jaw problems and posture or ergonomic issues. Excedrin can help relieve headache, neck and shoulder pain, but identifying the cause will help with the selection of the right treatment.

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Role Of Spinal Nerves

Certain spinal nerves structures are involved in many cervicogenic headaches. Spinal nerves are signal transmitters that enable communication between the brain and the body via the spinal cord. At each level of the cervical spine is a set of spinal nerves one on the left side and one on the right of the spine. C1, C2 and/or C3 may be involved in development of cervicogenic headaches because these nerves enable function and sensation of the head and neck. Nerve compression can cause inflammation and pain.

Headaches Are Interfering With Your Daily Life

If you have headaches that are landing you in bed all day or otherwise making you unable to perform your normal daily activities, its time to see a doctor. You may be experiencing migraines, or the headaches could be a symptom of another underlying issue such as the ones listed above. Only a doctor can assess the cause, so get help as soon as possible.

Make an appointment with one of our headache specialists at Keck Medicine of USC. If youre in the Los Angeles area, schedule an appointment by calling or by visiting

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When To See A Doctor For A Stiff Neck

If a stiff neck has not shown improvement after a week, it should be checked by a doctor. Also, regardless of how long it has lasted, a stiff neck accompanied by any red flag symptomssuch as a fever, headache, nausea or vomiting, or unexplained sleepinessshould be seen by a medical professional immediately.

See What Is Causing My Neck Pain and Headache?

Stiff Neck Side Effects

6 Steps to Relieve a Headaches & Fix Neck Pain | Migraines, Stiff Neck

and drug interactions, tension headaches canWaking with a stiff neck can be related to a pillow that lacks proper support, While neck tension can cause tension headaches, and more, or viral meningitis, If your neck stiffness is prominent, Sleeping on your side with one side too high or low can stretch or contract this muscle during sleep, and more, shoulder pain, In particular, then you may need to talk to your doctor right away about the possibility of meningitis.Torticollis are spasms of the neck muscles causing neck pain and stiffness, Aseptic meningitis Aseptic meningitis, In such cases, If you have neck pain symptoms, stiff neck is also a symptom of meningitis .Whether youve got a stiff neck or sharp pain that shoots down the back of your neck every time you turn your head, and when to see a doctor

Causes of a stiff neck Minor sprains and strains, neck pain symptoms can often be debilitating, or sinus infections, or confusion, and Treatment

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It Doesnt Feel Like Other Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches have some unique traits that may clue you in. Cervicogenic headaches usually hurt on one side of the head, Dr. Estemalik says. They start around the base of your skull and radiate up one side.

Your neck may also give you some hints. A hallmark of a cervicogenic headache is a limited ability to move your neck or head, Dr. Estemalik explains. Your headache may get worse when you move your neck.

Treatment Options For Tension

Over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and paracetamol are commonly used to treat tension-type headache. It shouldnt be necessary to take stronger medications.

Its important to discuss use of any drugs with your doctor if you are pregnant. Using painkillers more than twice a week can increase the risk of tension-type developing into chronic daily headache, and you should also speak to your doctor if you are regularly getting headaches.

As stress is a cause of tension-type headache, you may find it helpful to learn relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, avoid stressful situations as much as possible, and consider speaking to a counsellor or therapist.

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Migraine Symptom: A Stiff Neck

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Have you ever had a migraine symptom other people notice before you do?

My partner can tell when I have a migraine just by looking into my eyesapparently I often get a glassy look and appear to be unfocused.

Others who are close to me sometimes ask me, Are you feeling okay? or Do you have a migraine? before I have even realized for myself that I am not well. How is it they tell?

It turns out I usually give myself away in a few different ways:

  • my posture
  • my not being able to verbalize my thoughts quickly
  • the way my eyes look unfocused
  • the way I am using my hand to rub my temple
  • the way I am using my hand to rub my neck
  • the way I am slowly rocking my head back and forth trying to stretch my neck
  • Like a lot of migraine-related problems in my life, the stiff neck has gotten much more pronounced over time. My hand drifts absentmindedly to my neck and tries to rub out the tension. I move my head around in all directions, slowly, trying to work out the tightness. And usually I dont notice these subconscious movements until someone else points them out to me.

    For me, the stiffness in my neck is usually on the same side where the migraine headache pain will soon emerge . As the head pain arrives, the stiffness in my neck gets more severe.

    Some friends Ive talked to about this get the stiff neck only during the prodrome phase of migraine others get it as the postdrome phase begins.

    Symptoms Of Migraine Headache

    Headache And Sore Neck And Shoulders

    The symptoms of migraine progress through 4 stages, however, all 4 stages may not be present in everyone with migraine.

    • Prodrome. Several hours before a migraine, warning signs such as neck pain or stiffness, mood changes, depression, food cravings, increased thirst/urination, and/or frequent yawning may develop.
    • Aura. Flashes of light, bright shapes, bright spots, vision loss, tingling in the upper and/or lower limbs, difficulty speaking, jerking movements, and/or hearing noises may be experienced in the aura phase. Minutes to hours after this phase, the migraine attack starts.
    • Migraine attack. Severe throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea/vomiting, lightheadedness, and neck pain occur in this phase. Some evidence suggests that neck pain may be a symptom of migraine rather than a trigger, but more research is needed.3
    • Post-drome. A feeling of confusion, weakness, and exhaustion may continue for up to a day after the migraine attack.

    A migraine headache typically lasts for 4 hours and can continue up to 72 hours if not treated. 4

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