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50 Years & Older Living With Migraine

In pain and frustrating doctor visit today

  • By JanetH

    I’ve had a spate of migraines recently. Two days ago, when I woke up in the morning, the left side of my neck and shoulder were very painful. I’ve had neck pain with migraine for years, and problems with my neck for a long time in general. I soldiered in to work, made it through the day with acetaminophen, heat patches, and a small massager. I took a hot shower last night, seemed to help.

    This morning I woke up and it was slightly better, but still painful. I couldn’t get an appt. with either my regular massage therapist or my dr., who is a DO. He has a new partner who is also a DO, and I made an appt., though I’d seen her once before for osteopathic manipulative therapy before, and didn’t care for her manner. But being in pain and it being before a holiday weekend, well, you get the picture.

    So, she did some OMT. What I didn’t like, though, was I felt I was being interrogated. “Do you meditate?” “I used to.” “Well maybe you need to start again; your muscles are extremely tight.” I told her I’d had a massage just two weeks ago. (I stopped because I kept dozing off, so I must’ve been relaxed at some level!) I take my breaks at work, get plenty of sleep, do relaxation exercises almost nightly, etc. Then I mentioned I’d been sleeping on two pillows, maybe I needed to stop that, but if I slept on one, I start coughing with post-nasal drip, because of course I also have allergies. I mentioned I have GERD. “Well, are you following a GERD diet?” “Not specifically. I know to have my last meal at least 2 hours before bed; limit caffeine, alcohol, etc.” “Well, you could look up GERD diet.” (I did. I didn’t learn anything I’m not already following.”

    So, she wants to see me for a follow-up appt. in two weeks. I am unsure of whether I will or not. Depends on how I feel. Hubby was upset when I told him of the interaction, and I was also pretty down in the dumps. I said, “I’m almost 53, I’ve had migraines, stress, and GERD a good chunk of my life. I research my health issues a lot, and take better care of myself than most people. I felt like I was getting lectured.”

    Now, G-d forbid, maybe I’m ratcheting up to a new pain level. But in my life, every now and then, I’ve had painful episodes with neck or back, no matter what I do. Same with another health issue, I sometimes seem to get multiple sinus infections in a period of time, no matter what I do. It’s very frustrating, the more so because I DO try hard to take care of myself.

    Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to vent. I’m scheduled for a massage this Saturday.

    Anyone else have issues with neck and shoulder pain after having a period of migraine headaches?

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi JanetH,

    Thank you for your question. I am sorry you had a less that optimal doctor visit, that is very frustrating.

    Yes! Neck pain can be a symptom of a migraine attack as well as a trigger. I know I can experience both. You may be interested in reading this article on neck pain and migraine; https://migraine.com/blog/neck-pain-and-migraine/ and https://migraine.com/blog/some-headaches-are-caused-by-neck-problems/.

    When we’re in extended pain, it’s not uncommon to be overly sensitive to everything and anything people say, I know I am. Seeing as it was the first time you were seeing this doctor, I wonder if she felt she needed to go over a few things with you, due diligence so to speak. If you’re not comfortable seeing her for a followup, go ahead and request the DO you regularly see. I probably would.

    Cervicogenic headache is a specific type of headache disorder that can complicate migraine treatment. There is good information in these two articles on this type of headache disorder; https://migraine.com/blog/a-one-sided-headache/ and https://migraine.com/blog/cervicogenic-headache/.

    I hope this information helps. Will you let me know how you make out at your follow up?
    Nancy

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  • By Kkyd

    Have you tried elevating your bed six inches at the head? I do this because I have allergies but I started it when I had GERD for a few years and still do it now. That way I need only one pillow. I rarely have GERD now, thankfully.

    I can also get neck pain and tight muscles from having a migraine. My migraines are caused by a variety of triggers. I don’t use medication because I have had trouble with that in the past, and instead try to avoid triggers which is harder and I have no advice on that since as you know what can give one of us a migraine might not do the same in someone else.

    The only thing you didn’t mention, athough you might already know this, is that having strong abdominal muscles can help with GERD, or so my gastroenterologist told me. I have found that to be true, but it’s not a cure-all.

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