Migraines triggered by poor sleeping position-anyone else?

so the only trigger i’ve nailed down for certain is that my migraines can be triggered by neck pain caused by awkward sleeping positions. i’ve gotten better about this since figuring it out and sleep on my side but some nights i slip up and wake up in some crazy contorted neck position and in pain and i know i’m done for. the latest happened last thursday night when my 5 yr old daughter came in at 4am running a fever and the beginnings of strep throat. she was miserable so i let her crawl in bed with me. i ended up sandwiched between her and my husband and ruined my neck that night. it’s been a roller coaster between headache and full-on migraine nonstop since then. one other time i noted this was when camping and i awoke that morning from the pain resulting from the position i was in (resulting from sliding ever so slightly downhill during the night…dammit.)

this is the cycle, awake with neck pain, go through varying degrees of pain for about 10 days before it finally goes away.

anyway, anyone else notice this as a trigger? i mentioned this on my last visit to my neuro and he seemed doubtful but generously prescribed me 5 whole muscle relaxers to try. gee, thanks. :roll: then, upped my topamax to 150mg instead.

right now, the pain is squarely above my right eye. i tried an abortive two nights ago and it worked for several hours but by the time i got up, the pain was back. i take fioricet also for the pain and it does seem to help and one of the active meds in it is a muscle relaxer i believe. however, i try to take it sparingly as taking for the entire 10 days seems to be a bad idea. :lol:

thanks for any help you can give!!

Hi Nicki,
Yep, that is a massive trigger for me too. Anything that causes neck pain on my left hand side, seems to cause migraines, although I am not sure why. Having slept in an awkward position can do that for me. Also sitting at a computer all day using the mouse to draw with does the same thing, although I can type all day using both hands and be fine, so I guess I must get into a bad postural position when I just use the mouse.

thanks beech, have you ever tried any special pillows or altering your bed in any way? if so, did it help? i’m considering it but would like some input from some people who have tried some before i go out and buy anything special.

thanks also for making me feel less like a freak. :lol: i was afraid i would be the only one. although i am sorry, of course, that you suffer.

Hey Nicki –

I use a contoured pillow myself. If my head is sitting too high on a regular pillow it seems to make things worse especially if there’s a “neck migraine” occurring, which is most days for me. Definite;y grab a good pillow and give that a try.


I definitely have to have my neck at a certain height and in a fixed position or I’m a wreck the next day… I sleep on a contoured 3" memory foam pillow. Regardless of skepticism around upper cervical chiro, there really is legitimate concern for keeping your head at the same level as your spine. I can’t say that my MAV is gone but my neck pain is 95% better after treatment and by sleeping on a better pillow.

If I don’t sleep completely upright I am in real trouble. I ordered a bedrest from the internet and have been using that for the past 8 months. The bedrest keeps me from falling over to my bad side (my right vestibular nerve has 30% damage from VN). This sleeping position really sucks but I have found no other satisfactory alternative

thanks to you all for your input. i think i’ll be researching some new pillows! these old, tired flat ones have definitely seen better days. if a new pillow can put an end to even a few of these migraines, it’s worth the money.

thanks again! you guys are great! :smiley:

It affects me badly if I lie flat. Propping myself up on pillows helped with the MAV but my spine and neck would be strained in positions not good for it. At first I got a wedge pillow. It supports the whole upper body while keeping your head elevated, and you use it along with your regular pillow. After that we went more permanent. We couldn’t afford an adjustable bed, so my husband rigged up a car ‘scissor jack’ under the head of the bed and we elevate it about 6" each night, support it on stable blocks, then in the morning bring the bed back down to normal. We’ve been doing that for many years. It works great.

My husband is quite a DIY enthusiast and he constructed these wooden things that the casters of the bed sat inside of, wider at one end, raised the bed head around 6 inches. Havent got that now. I used to wake with neck pain running into the back of my head and migraine. Cant sleep on either side because it will cause vertigo. I sleep on my back propped up with 3 pillow, the top on is feather so I can pull it in on either side to stop the neck rolling to one side or another. I have woke with vertigo if the neck falls to one side. I wore a neck collar and woke with vertigo because it was too lose and my chin fell down inside it :?

I remember getting vertigo having my ears syringed years ago when my head had to be dropped to one side also. The 3 pillows isnt ideal as if I dont push my head back far enough before I fall asleep and my head drops forward I can wake with migraine, but its the best I can do. And I wonder why I suffer with insomnia :roll:


— Begin quote from "Nicki"

thanks beech, have you ever tried any special pillows or altering your bed in any way? if so, did it help? i’m considering it but would like some input from some people who have tried some before i go out and buy anything special.

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I bought a good quality pillow to replace the horrible flat pancake ones I had! This has helped quite a lot, as I think it’s supporting my neck quite well. My only problem - which has been mentioned by some of the others - is that I can’t always lie down that flat, as depending on how my MAV is, I can sometimes feel like I am moving when I lie down, so sometimes I have to sleep propped up, and this is bad for my neck!

I hope you can find something that makes you more comfortable and stops the neck pains.

wow. i never knew so many mav’ers could have so many problems with lying flat. :frowning: i know a lot of mm’ers sleep in recliners because they’ve given up on beds and the risk of triggering vertigo. i realize i’m lucky now that i don’t have that issue to contend with. way back in the beginning, i couldn’t sleep on my bad side, but now it doesn’t matter. i can sleep “flat” so i think i’ll look into contour pillows or at the least shell out the money for a quality pillow instead of the cheap ones i usually get.

i’m so sorry you all have to go through the things you do just to sleep! thanks again for the input and i hope you find some relief soon!