Treating Migraine at the Neck

April 30, 2015

We’ve all blamed the occasional headache on a cranky kid, blustery boss, surly spouse or even the family pet! But next time you accuse someone of being a ‘pain in the neck,’ you might truly be tapping into your chronic migraine trigger, and even the right migraine treatment! We’re not suggesting you put your child on Craig’s List, quit your job, get a divorce or place your pet up for adoption, but you should find out what’s going on with your neck. That’s because your headaches may be starting there and not in your head. Another possibility for your neck pain is that similar to nausea, it may be symptom of migraine, which requires targeted treatment.

A recent news story on CBSnews.com featured an unusual migraine treatment administered to a woman who suffered a long time with migraines associated with a dysfunction in her neck. Her doctor injected a long-lasting anesthetic into the facet joins of her cervical spine, since according to his statement in the article, “Essentially the joints start rubbing against each other, and that irritates the nerve that goes from the back of your neck to the back of your head, and can offset and trigger a nightmare.”   The doctor used x-ray guided technology to locate the point for injection. Following this procedure, the woman is expected to require radio frequency therapy to get longer lasting pain relief. This approach is similar to that covered by the advanced Omega migraine procedure, which uses gentle electric pulses to block pain signals during a migraine.

Separately, past research studies suggest that neck pain may a more common migraine symptom than most people realize. A study published during 2010 in Headache, found that when episodic migraines developed into a chronic migraine condition, neck pain became a more prevalent symptom than nausea. The researchers noted that being able to identify that neck pain might be correlated with migraine, would enhance diagnosing and even treating migraines.

So next time you turn to your loved one; human or fuzzy pet, and get ready to accuse them of being a ‘pain in your neck’ make sure it’s not really your migraine giving you the neck pain!

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