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neck pain and migraines

My migraines temporarily subsided for about a month, so much so, that I almost cancelled an appointment to get Botox injections. I went ahead with the Botox last week; my doctor told me that it would take a few weeks to know if it was going to be effective. I think it's unrelated, but I have started getting my middle-of-the-night migraines again, and taking sumatriptan nightly (50mg). I'm also waking up with terribly uncomfortable pain in the back of my neck and shoulders, and wondering what that is all about. I'm also having a lot of pulsing sensations even when not experiencing a headache; don't know is this is a precursor? Anyone else experience anything else like this?

  1. Have you read about "alarm clock" migraines? That information helped me. I have degeneration in my C4 and had an MRI to see if there was something wrong in my head. The doctor's said the pain was from the neck joint pressing on nerves, but the suggested treatment for "alarm clock" migraines helped.

    1. Hi Exhausted,

      Thank you for your input - we're glad you're here!

      'Alarm clock' headache or the official term, hypnic headache is a fairly rare type of primary headache (meaning no other condition/disease causes it) which you can read more about here;

      Good to hear you are getting relief! That makes my day!


  2. Hi susanmartinez,

    Thank you for reaching out to us! Let's see what information I can give you.

    Actually it may take two to three rounds before we notice a reduction in migraine attack frequency and severity. Many of us who stick with Botox see our abortives (sumatriptan) work better. If you haven't seen this information on Botox, take a look when you get a chance;

    Taking migraine medications (sumatriptain) and/or pain relievers, whether they are over-the-counter or prescription, more than two to three days a week can create another problem called rebound headache, or medication overuse headache. If we're in a rebound cycle our migraine attacks will be more difficult to treat and we can end up in a daily cycle of endless pain that too is hard to break. Here is information on rebound;

    If the neck and back pain is connected (I'm not sure they are) to Botox, that should go away as the drug wears off. You mentioned you are getting "middle of the night" migraine attacks, so this isn't new? This should be discussed with the doctor as getting an accurate diagnosis is important in getting the proper treatment. I'll share this article with you on hypnic headache, commonly referred to as 'alarm clock' headache; This type of headache disorder typically occurs in people over 50, but there are always exceptions to the rule!

    The pulsing you mentioned could be part of the first phase of a migraine attack called prodrome. There are four phases of a migraine attack, but not everyone will experience each phase; prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome. Let me share this information of the four phases;

    I hope this helps, let me know what you think?

    1. For me, yes. Neck pain and my migraines do seems to be related. Maybe trying physical therapy or a chiropractor might help.

      1. Physical therapy has help my migraines tremendously. I had tried several different avenues to try to eliminate my migraines. Medications, sleep study, prevention medications, Botox with minimal results. The migraines were becoming more frequent. I have seen two neurological doctors also. Finally, I thought if all of these things are not working, maybe I have a physical condition causing my headaches. The first visit to the physical therapist confirmed my thoughts. She pressed on areas of my neck that instantly sent the pain up to my head where my migraines occur. She said my first two vertebrae were as hard as a brick and had probably been that way for years. Sitting and working on a computer at work for many many years was probably the cause. I noticed that when I exercised on the treadmill I would almost always get a migraine that day. We also think that I was causing tension in my neck causing the nerves to become inflamed. Now after three months of therapy and changing the way I exercise I am becoming almost migraine free. After almost having weekly migraines and having to take medication and go to bed, it's an unbelievable feeling to think that this has probably been the source of my problem for years. The most frustrating part of it all is that I figured it out and not one doctor ever suggested it could be a physical problem. Maybe this will help someone else that reads this.

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