Someone posted here the other day (couldn’t find the post) that they thought their migraine activity was because of tight neck muscles or some structural problem in the neck and nothing more (something along those lines). I wanted to comment here that this is a potential BIG RED HERRING where people will often think that they have some physiological problem in the structure of their neck being the sole “cause” /trigger of their migraine. This comes up often in other forums, one in particular for example where NUCCA (a form of chiropractic) is promoted as the fix for these sorts of dizzy problems we experience.
Here’s my take on this and what you’ll also find in the literature:
- Migraine very commonly causes neck pain in a migraineur. It can be excruciating if the trigger load is high. I know myself as I’ve been there and can trigger an episode easily by simply eating the wrong foods or using a particular product. If you look at the recent notes from Nick Silver he says the following:
“We recognise that migraine pain is commonest in the head, face and neck, and indeed
the pain may appear to start in the neck leading to a misperception that there is a
neck disorder rather than a primary problem with the brain accounting for the cause
of the attack.”
- What I have found personally is that if neck tension and tightened muscles in the neck resulting from migraine attacks are continuous over time and nothing is done to ease the pressure (e.g. massage) that this in itself can act as a strong trigger for more migraine activity. It’s a positive feedback loop. So initially the migraine activity causes the neck pain and tension but over time it can cause the neck joints to lose mobility and then the pain caused by this new problem triggers yet more migraine and more neck pain. It becomes a downward spiral.
For case number two I wasted thousands of dollars on chiropractic care years ago before I realised that it was NOT a structural issue as the chiro insisted. Instead, it was migraine setting me off. To undo the chronic jammed up cervical spine I went for just TWO sessions of physiotherapy (just 100 bucks). She showed me how to stop the jamming up from reoccurring with home stretches and massage I can do myself. It has NEVER returned again and of course I have to avoid migraine triggers to reduce neck pain. I still get neck pain but the nasty stuff that doesn’t budge has gone for good.
Anyway, after reading Nick Silver’s new article and remembering what was said in another thread, I thought this was worth revisiting.
I’d love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on this.
Cheers … Scott 8)