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Can Neck Pain Trigger Migraine

Role Of Spinal Nerves

Does Neck Pain Cause Migraines?

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.

That Chronic Headache Could Be The Result Of A Back Or Neck Injury

    Are you constantly dealing with chronic headaches? Simple things can trigger headaches, like a small dietary change or lack of sleep. But chronic headaches are usually a sign that something isnt right.

    Back and neck injuries are normally associated with headaches patients often report that they experience headaches even after recovering from a back injury. Dr. Hui Kang, and his team at Houston Pain Specialists are here to explain how back or neck injuries can cause headaches.

    Get Rid Of Your Old Pillow Or Mattress

    Sleep should be a time for your body to rest and recharge. So be choosy about your sleeping equipment.

    Finding the right mattress and pillow can be key to preventing a cervicogenic headache, Dr. Estemalik says. Do you wake up with neck pain or a headache? That could be a clue that you need to switch your pillow or mattress.

    Find a pillow that keeps your neck in line with your back. The exact pillow type varies from person to person based on your sleeping position and body type. And follow Goldilocks advice about your bed: Not too hard or too soft. Replace old mattresses and pillows, since they lose their support after years of use.

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    How Can You Relieve Tension Headache Pain

    Here are some tips to help you manage the cause of your tension headaches:

    • Get an eye exam. If youre straining to read, or keep tilting your head up and down to use those off-the-shelf glasses, you may need a new pair of glasses.
    • Redesign your workstation. Simply raising your computer monitor or getting a document stand can help reduce repeated head tilting that can strain the occipital muscles.
    • Avoid slouching and practice good posture. Consider trying yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi. All of these disciplines are great forms of exercise and all can help to improve posture. Also, you may want to consult a physical therapist, chiropractor, or movement therapist for exercises that are tailored to your need.
    • Get a 30-minute massage that concentrates on the neck and upper back. This can help relax your muscles and relieve your headache pain.
    • Try applying a hot pack to the base of the head. Do this for 15-20 minute intervals.
    • Stuff two tennis balls into a sock and tie it off tightly. Lie on your back on the floor. Place the tennis balls under the base of your skull and allow your head to compress against them. Gently rock your head back and forth and side to side for a few minutes.

    Can Neck Pain Cause Headaches

    Headaches and Migraines

    There’s something called cervicogenic headache within the classification scheme for headache disorders. That is a somewhat nebulous diagnosis where the pathology in the neck is thought to be the primary driver of the headache. The reason that classification is somewhat controversial is that for those with migraine who have significant neck pain, the overwhelming majority don’t have any specific pathology in the neck that explains their pain.

    This is the key point: Just because there is pain in the neck during, after, or between a migraine attack doesn’t mean that there is a specific problem in the neck that’s causing it. The neck pain is a manifestation of migraine, just like head pain or nausea is a manifestation of migraine without any clear underlying problem which can be identified with a scan or an X-ray.

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    Chiropractic And Acupuncture Do They Help

    An August 2021 study led by the California Institute of Behavioral Neurosciences & Psychology in the journal Cureus offered this assessment of acupuncture and manual or chiropractic care.

    There are several non-pharmacologic treatment options suggested for tension-type headaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation, biofeedback, acupuncture, exercise, manual therapy, and even some home remedies. . . Acupuncture was compared to routine care or sham intervention. Acupuncture was not found to be superior to physiotherapy, exercise, and massage therapy. . . Manual therapy has an efficacy that equals prophylactic medication and tricyclic antidepressants in treating tension-type headaches. The available data suggests that both acupuncture and manual therapy have beneficial effects on treating symptoms of tension-type headache. However, further clinical trials looking at long-term benefits and risks are needed.

    What Is Referred Pain

    Referred pain is when pain is felt at a site different from the site of injury or abnormal function. People with migraine experience referred pain, for example, by developing tenderness of the nerves of the neck that form the occipital nerve. When pressure is applied, they experience pain around their eye.

    That’s an example of referred pain, because where the pain is experienced – the eye – is not where the pain is being triggered, which is in the back of the head.

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    Could Your Migraines Be The Result Of Neck Problems

      A scan of any list of migraine signs and symptoms rarely brings up mention of neck pain, yet an Italian study from 2016 showed a link between cervical neck pain and migraines. It may turn out that neck pain is one of the most common symptoms of migraines, which can otherwise be very individual, with widely varying symptom combinations.

      This relationship works the other way, too. Patients who think they have cervical neck pain are indeed experiencing migraines, and the X-rays and other treatments received based on their self-diagnosis are ineffective for reducing migraine symptoms.

      Cervicogenic Headaches Start In The Neck

      Do you have a Migraine or a Neck Headache- we discussed how upper cervical and neck can cause both

        A cervicogenic headache starts in the cervical spineyour neck. Sometimes these headaches mimic migraine headache symptoms. Initially, pain may begin intermittently, spread to one side of the patient’s head, and become almost continuous. Furthermore, pain can be exacerbated by neck movement or a particular neck position .Cervicogenic headache pain may be felt behind the brow and forehead, even though the problem originates from the cervical spine. Photo Source:

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        How Do You Treat Cervicogenic Headaches

        Generally, cervicogenic headaches are treated most effectively with a multi-faceted approach. Since no real studies have been done, this information is gleaned from anecdotal evidence.

        • Pain Medications: Although considered a temporary fix, pharmaceuticals can be helpful to survive a headache and relieve the stress the pain causes. Generally, a combination of medicines for migraines, NSAIDs, and perhaps anti-convulsive, antidepressant, or muscle relaxants can be helpful. Narcotic medicines are not considered effective in this case. Important: You must discuss these medicines with your primary care practitioner since the side effects need to be monitored with regular blood work.
        • Manual Therapy: Manipulation of the musculoskeletal system can help correct the misalignment. Reputable chiropractors, osteopathic doctors who specialize in manipulation, and physiotherapists can help realign the joints, often permanently, after a series of visits.
        • Physical and Occupational Therapy:Physical therapy can help treat cervicogenic headaches. Both of these therapies are important modalities to help you correct posture and other lifestyle habits that created the misalignment and muscle spasms in the first place. Long-term results are the goal and are achievable for most people.

        The Xs mark potential trigger points on the sternocleidomastoid muscle that is often the culprit of headaches.

        Cervicogenic Headache Is Often Time Post

        A big problem with cervicogenic headache is that the Classification does not reflect reality. In real life, most people with cervicogenic headache have had a trauma or repeated micro-trauma . Post-traumatic headaches are a mixed bag of different types that should be more clearly defined. Patients should be aware of this, as it can explain some of the confusion they might encounter in different clinics.

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        A Physiological Problem Or A Forward Head Posture Problem

        Because you are reading this article, it will be assumed that you know what forward head posture is, it is likely that if you have been to a chiropractor or other health care provider and this problem may have been explained to you as a potential cause of your problem.

        In December 2019, a randomized control trials results were published in the journal Medical Science Monitor examined the impact of Forward Head Posture on patients with tension headaches. Here are the summary learning points:

        • Tension-type headache decreases the ability to concentrate and function during daily activities in affected patients.
        • Most patients with Tension-type headaches exhibit forward head posture.
        • Various interventions have been proposed to resolve Tension-type headaches. However, research regarding the efficacy of these interventions remains lacking.

        To address this concern, the researchers aimed to investigate the association between forward head posture and Tension-type headache and to evaluate the efficacy of various intervention methods on headache symptoms and other clinical variables in patients with Tension-type headache induced by forward head posture.

        Three different treatments:

        Interventions were conducted 3 times per week for 4 weeks.

        Why Does Neck Pain Occur With Migraine

        Pin on Health

        The neck pain of migraine is not associated with increased trapezius activity, but more research is needed to look at other neck muscles and their activity during a migraine attack.1 The trapezius muscle is used to tilt and turn the head and shrug the shoulders. It also helps move and rotate the shoulder blades. It is not clear why or how neck pain occurs with migraine, and sometimes somatic pain syndromes are associated with migraine.2

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        Emerging Evidence Of Occipital Nerve Compression In Unremitting Head And Neck Pain

        That is the title of recent research that appears in the July 2019 issue of The Journal of Headache and Pain It comes from researchers at the University of Texas and Harvard Medical School

        The cause of Unremitting head and neck pain in some patients may be compression of the lesser and greater occipital nerves by the posterior cervical muscles and their fascial attachments at the occipital ridge with subsequent local perineural inflammation . The resulting pain is typically in the sub-occipital and occipital location, and, via anatomic connections between extracranial and intracranial nerves, may radiate frontally to trigeminal-innervated areas of the head. Migraine-like features of photophobia and nausea may occur with frontal radiation.

        Occipital allodynia is common, as is a spasm of the cervical muscles. Patients with Unremitting head and neck pain may comprise a subgroup of Chronic Migraine, as well as Chronic Tension-Type Headache, New Daily Persistent Headache, and Cervicogenic Headache.

        Centrally acting membrane-stabilizing agents , which are often ineffective for Chronic Migraine, are similarly generally ineffective for Unremitting head and neck pain.

        That Crick In Your Neck There May Be Several Causes

        Neck and shoulder pain will affect many people at some point in their life. There are various possible causes for neck and shoulder pain, and studies suggest that both physical and psychosocial factors may contribute to the problem.1

        Physical factors include prolonged sitting, working in the same position for a long time, prolonged holding of a bent forward head position, forceful and repetitive tasks, working with the hands overhead, working with vibrating tools, and prolonged use of computers.2

        Chances are, if youve got an office job, youve suffered from computer hunch that pain in the neck and shoulders that can come from sitting too long in front of your computer. While computer hunch isnt a medical term, the pain you may feel in the neck and shoulders does have a basis in science.

        A study of more than 1,300 office workers showed that those who spent more than 70 percent of their working time with the neck bent forward at an angle of 20 degrees or more were at an increased risk for neck pain. Similarly, workers who sat for more than 95 percent of their working time had twice the risk for neck pain than workers who hardly ever sat.3

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        My Migraines: A Pain In The Neck

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        For the longest time, I wasn’t sure if my headaches – despite their severity and how the symptoms often aligned with those associated with migraines – actually qualified as a “true migraine.” It is because the majority of my headaches, even as they reached migraine-caliber levels of pain, usually seemed to originate as pain in my jaws, shoulders, and especially, my neck.

        Symptoms Of Myofascial Pain Syndrome/office Syndrome

        How neck pain can trigger headaches…
        • Patients often experience pain, stiffness, or tightness in frequently-used muscles, such as the neck, shoulder, temples, back, waist, or leg muscles. In some cases, muscle knots may be felt, caused by muscle fibers tensing or tightening these are known as trigger points
        • Dull or deep aching pain in a muscle that is related to the use of that particular muscle
        • The duration of pain depends on the severity experienced by the individual patient. Other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, weakness, and numbness are rarely found and, as such, if any of these are present a more serious disorder involving headaches should be suspected

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        Case Studies Involving Upper Cervical Care For Migraines Neck Pain And Headaches

        Besides this study, there are many case studies involving both migraine and headache patients who have benefited from various forms of upper cervical care. In one compilation of 101 case studies, 37 of the patients were experiencing migraines . All but 8 of those 37 patients could remember a head or neck trauma that preceded the onset of migraines.

        What were the results of these 37 case studies? 26 of the patients experienced the elimination of their migraines, including two men and a woman who had daily migraines. The other 11 patients all experienced a reduction in the number of migraines per month. Several daily migraine sufferers were down to just one or two per month. Some patients received benefits in as little as 1 month of care.

        The youngest patient was age 9. He had been experiencing 10 migraines per month following an injury. His condition completely resolved in just one month of care. The oldest patient was 67, and she experienced a reduction of her migraine days to just one per month.

        The Upper Neck And Migraines

        The reason neck pain is so common with migraines may very well be related to the effects of an upper cervical misalignment . When the C1 and C2 vertebrae are misaligned, the function of the entire central nervous system can be thrown off because of the roles we just discussed that are carried out by these bones.

        There can be a restriction of blood flow to the brain if the misalignment affects the vertebral arteries and creates any kinks or other slowdowns. Reduced blood flow plays a key role in migraine occurrence. The misaligned bones could potentially put pressure on the brainstem or spinal cord, and this pressure can cause malfunctions in communication between the brain and body. Brainstem function also has some link to migraines. But these are not the only issues that can lead to migraines.

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        Preventing Neck Pain Headaches

        Obviously, anything you can do to reduce neck pain tension can help prevent a cervicogenic headache. Make your work area more ergonomic so that there is less strain on your neck muscles. Raising up computer monitors and establishing book stands can prevent you from having to look down as often. Working on your posture, both by consciously sitting up straighter and by strengthening your core through yoga or other workout plans, can also help.

        People who are twisting and turning their necks in order to see better may find that a fine-tuned eyeglass prescription reduces neck muscle tension. In turn, headaches become less frequent.

        Why Does My Neck Pain Cause Headaches

        Can neck pain cause headaches? How problems in your neck ...

        Understanding how these issues are connected makes it easier to see how to help headaches from neck pain. Your neck and head are closely related, so it should be no surprise that a pain in the neck can also cause a headache. The connection between the two depends largely on the cause of your neck pain and the type of headaches you experience.

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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 To Seek Help

        Continual pain that doesnât improve on its means itâs time to consult with a professional.

        Visit the doctor immediately if you feel that your neck pain started running to your arms or you started getting numbness with tingling.

        Doctors will first physically examine you and ask for your medical history. If they didnât get to the actual cause from there, they would recommend you to go through X-rays, CT scans, and MRI.

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