Forums


Symptoms

Neck Pain

  • By Teri Robert

    Gregory,

    Neck pain issues can be complicated. Are all of your “headaches” Migraines? Neck problems can cause cervicogenic headaches, a secondary headache specifically caused by a source in the neck. (For more info, see Cervicogenic Headache – What Is It? at http://www.helpforheadaches.com/articles/2010/Cervicogenic_Headache.htm.)

    On the other hand, recent research indicates that neck pain can be a symptom of Migraine. In fact, it’s a more common symptom than nausea.

    Put those two together, and that’s why I wonder if you have both cervicogenic headaches and Migraines. Maybe something to discuss with your doctor?

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Gregory,

    I too have cervicogenic headache along with my Migraine issues. I have a few herniated discs, arthritis and other problems that add to the problems. In my case, after having a current MRI done as well as a postural x-ray, I was put under the care of a pain management specialist who did 6 blocks to help diagnose whether my chronic Migraine issue had anything to do with my neck and other spinal problems. It didn’t. But if it did, I would have had the option of radiofrequency ablation of the affected nerves. In my case I would likely not have undergone the procedure anyway, but it’s good to know there are options. Additionally, for those with cervicogenic headache, osteopathic care or physical therapy may be valuable, as might a TENS machine or other neurostimulator. This illustrates the importance of getting proper diagnosis of your problems instead of just chasing symptoms. I often hear of people suffering needlessly because they are treating only one disease/disorder and not both.

    Are you seeing a headache specialist? What does your neck specialist suggest for you?

    I hope you are able to find something that helps you. To me, my neck pain is bad enough, but add to that the Migraine and the added neck pain from an attack, and the spasms of Dystonia, and I can get really miserable. I feel for you…

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Elaine Gross

    Ellen,
    I also have spasms from Dystonia in my neck. I also have Occipital Neuralgia. I did get an x-ray of my neck and have arthritis and spondylitis. I have neck pain on and off even when I’m not having a Migraine. When I get a Migraine the pain in my neck is horrible. Also I’m a Chronic Migraineur. I did have Botox injections a few months ago which worked very well for my head, not so much for my neck.

    I got the injections from my ENT. My neurologist at Jefferson Headache Center in Philadelphia said he would give me several more injections than my ENT gave me, but there seems to be a problem getting insurance approval there. There was no problem with my ENT. So I’m not understanding that at all. Maybe because they do give many more injections??? But I’m waiting to hear, hopefully in two weeks. Meanwhile….

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Elaine,

    Yes, I do remember you writing about the trouble getting the Botox injections. Have you tried asking your doctors what the problem is?

    Botox is one of the approved therapies for focal Dystonias. This may be why you had an easier time with the ENT than the neuro, although this does seem a bit strange. Neuros are usually the doctors that treat Dystonia patients.

    Elaine, I will add that, until I had the 6 blocks in my neck, I never suffered occipital neuralgia. A while after those blocks, I developed a problem with the nerve though. Now every time I turn my head it shoots from my neck to my temple. My DO thinks I have developed a spur that is causing the issue. With two weddings coming up in a few months (both my kids) it is going to have to wait until summer. It is painful, but nothing compared to my Migraine and other headache problems.

    Do keep us informed how things are going. This is not such an uncommon problem as many patients think…

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By minni4216

    I have spurs and arthritis in my neck.I have good days and bad days.I also can not be around anything that has smell.I do know I ask my boss to ask people not to wear anything to work.By law you can and they have to do something about it.Also law pass that no one can let you go from their job because of Migraines.

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By undefeatedbella

    I have really bad neck pain a long with chronic migraines. i am actually finally beginning to question how much the neck issue’s are part of the migraine issues? I have been to a specialist for 5 years but just moved to a new state so while waiting to see where im going next the new neurologist issued a mri of my neck.I did have a migraine specialist do a examination of my neck which is usually in alot of pain and he believed to be several neck issues’ like cervical stenosis, and cervical facet syndrome? I have to wait for the mri but my neck is very much involved I think also pain behind my brow lines cause painful puffy eye lids

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi undefeatedbella,

    Neck pain can also be a symptom of a migraine attack and also delay treatment because we don’t recognize it as a symptom of migraine. Here is some information on neck pain;https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-symptoms-neck-pain/.

    There is also a secondary type of headache disorder called cervicogenic headache where the pain is felt in the head but comes from the neck. Teri wrote an article on this you can read about here; https://migraine.com/blog/cervicogenic-headache/. Feel free to print this information out and share it with your doctor.

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By LT

    I am curious if anyone else experiences this: I get extremely intense muscle tension/pain ‘attacks’ that encompass my entire neck, shoulders, scalp, facial muscles and especially my jaw.

    It is not a migraine, I do not have a full on headache with it – but it is really hard to live with. It can last for a couple of hours to a couple of days. Even my gums feel like they have pressure in them, like I’m teething or something.

    Massage doesn’t help, all the muscles are rock solid and the nerves are on fire. Does anyone else get something like this, any ideas of what it is? I’ve tried to explain it to numerous doctors, including my headache specialist, but they’ve offered no treatment other than nsaids which do nothing for it. I also have chronic migraine, but my migraine attacks are distinctly migraine and very different. Any opinions would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    larissataurins – I do know of a possibly related condition that can have similar symptoms to what you’re describing. To make matters worse, it is often caused by the medicines we have to take for Migraine disease, which is why I am fairly active trying to help educate patients about it. It’s called dystonia. In the case of the neck and upper body, it’s called torticollis, or cervical dystonia. I don’t know if it matches your symptoms or not as it is difficult to tell with what you’ve said. Doctors rarely recognize it, and it takes the average patient 15 doctors and 5 years to get an appropriate diagnosis.

    Do these “attacks” seem to have anything at all to do with your Migraine? Or, are they a totally separate issue?

    If you think that these uncontrolled muscle movements might be a movement disorder like dystonia, please try to get to see a movement disorder specialist who is best qualified to diagnose or rule out this condition.

    Here is a list that is not completely current, but the best I’ve found so far that names many of the meds that can trigger this condition. Additionally, you should know that dystonia can occur without precipitating medications. Here is a link for you: Migraine and Dystonia https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-triggers-and-comorbidities-dystonia/ And, here is a link to the medications list: http://www.spasmodictorticollis.org/media/pdf/Broch-Meds.pdf

    In dystonia, there can be overt twisting and pulling of the head, or not. This depends upon the severity and number of muscles involved.

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    larissataurins – I do know of a possibly related condition that can have similar symptoms to what you’re describing. To make matters worse, it is often caused by the medicines we have to take for Migraine disease, which is why I am fairly active trying to help educate patients about it. It’s called dystonia. In the case of the neck and upper body, it’s called torticollis, or cervical dystonia. I don’t know if it matches your symptoms or not as it is difficult to tell with what you’ve said. Doctors rarely recognize it, and it takes the average patient 15 doctors and 5 years to get an appropriate diagnosis.

    Do these “attacks” seem to have anything at all to do with your Migraine? Or, are they a totally separate issue?

    If you think that these uncontrolled muscle movements might be a movement disorder like dystonia, please try to get to see a movement disorder specialist who is best qualified to diagnose or rule out this condition.

    Here is a list that is not completely current, but the best I’ve found so far that names many of the meds that can trigger this condition. Additionally, you should know that dystonia can occur without precipitating medications. Here is a link for you: Migraine and Dystonia https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-triggers-and-comorbidities-dystonia/ And, here is a link to the medications list: http://www.spasmodictorticollis.org/media/pdf/Broch-Meds.pdf

    In dystonia, there can be overt twisting and pulling of the head, or not. This depends upon the severity and number of muscles involved. It can be constant, or come and go. It is actually a problem in the brain, not the muscles, and it affects each person with it differently. A feeling of tightness, or that the muscles are *rock hard* along with burning pain is par for the course with this, although again, each patient experiences it differently.

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By LT

    thanks so much for the info Ellen – I will look into this thoroughly. I don’t have movement, twisting or pulling, but the muscle tension is so extreme.

    I have had a severe akathisia problems with meds that have left me with restless leg syndrome though – possibly related?

    The attacks seem to be separate from the migraines but can trigger a migraine and overlap.

    thanks again!

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By architect franz

    next time try to visit a dentist! I had a neck pain , swelling and a terrible head ache, I went to see a doctor and he told me that I had muscle spasm and ligament problem…after taking muscle relaxant,,the pain was still there..luckily I went to the dentist to check if its the teeth that’s causing the pain…finally dentist performed root canal and the pain was forever gone—-architect franz gonzales

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    franzjoseph

    Optimizing all our health issues is key to optimizing our Migraine management. So many things can interact with our Migraine disease… It’s possible that the bad tooth was triggering a Migraine, or that you were never having a Migraine in the first place. It’s all about diagnosis, and this is why we highly encourage patients to be sure and be seen by Migraine specialists who can often figure this out in a jiffy. If the diagnosis is bad, so will the treatment.

    Here is a link that can help you find your nearest specialist: https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/

    ~Ellen

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By mheadacherelief

    From two days I am suffering from neck pain.It’s really very painful for me.I consulted some of the best doctors.They gave me some medicine but not finding any improvement.If some one having any ideas about this please advice me.

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Kerrie Smyres Moderator

    Heat or ice may help. Try a heating pad, hot pack or ice pack for 15-20 minutes every two or three hours. You can alternate between heat and ice or go with the one that feels better to you.

    Some people like muscle balms (like Tiger Balm, Icy Hot and BenGay) or even peppermint oil.

    Massage your neck gently (or have someone else massage it). Be sure the pressure isn’t too hard or your muscles will tense up in reaction to the massage.

    The same goes for stretching – it’s helpful but more is not always better! Start gently, back off a bit when you feel resistance and never do anything that causes pain.

    You want to move as normally as possible, but limit activities that have you looking down for extended periods, like chopping vegetables, or those that have put your arms overhead.

    Limit your computer time and when you’re on the computer, use good posture and ergonomics to reduce the strain on your neck muscles.

    Massage (even a chair massage at a mall) or acupuncture can also relieve the pain.
    Over-the-counter painkillers could provide some relief.

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply