Neck Stiffness?

As I’ve wandered around on this forum grabbing a lot of helpful information I have seen a few references to Neck Issues as a symptom of Vestibular Migraine. I had not heard about this previously and since I have had neck problems for years I’m very curious about this. Is this common? Do many of you have neck issues? Are the neck problems a predominant symptom or only when your having bad periods of symptoms?

Thanks for any input

Hello. Here are just two of many references to neck stiffness or pain from Dr. David Buchholz’s book, “Heal Your Headache.”

“The autonomic symptoms–nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, flushing or pallor of the skin, sweating, chills and fever–stem from dysfunction of the part of the hypothalamus that normally governs the autonomic nervous system in an orderly fashion but misbehaves in the course of migraine. Photophobia, phonophobia and neck stiffness, all common features of migraine, arise from inflammation of blood vessels in the membranes called meninges that line the brain.”

And, “Neck stiffness, aching, soreness, tightness and tension are common symptoms of migraine. You may experience what you call knots or spasm in your neck. It may feel as if your head is too heavy for your neck to support it. Your neck may crack, creak, crunch, grind or pop. Discomfort often spreads into the trapezius muscles (located between your neck and shoulders) and into the shoulder blades in your upper back. The territory of migraine is broad, and the location of discomfort depends on the locations of blood vessel swelling and inflammation.”

I’ve also had neck problems for years. I believe others on this site have commented that keeping the neck flexible is an important component of their ability to keep migraine under control.

Hope this helps.


— Begin quote from “Elswyth”

It may feel as if your head is too heavy for your neck to support it. Your neck may crack, creak, crunch, grind or pop. Discomfort often spreads into the trapezius muscles (located between your neck and shoulders) and into the shoulder blades in your upper back. s.

— End quote

Thank you for all of the info! This is certainly what I experience pretty regularly on the good days! I’m amazed at the broad spectrum of symptoms that can be attributed to this. I wish I had been diagnosed years ago.

Hi Tracy,

Neck pain is my main migraine symptom. I deal with this almost daily at different levels. It’s usually at its worst when I wake in the morning. I generally have to massage my own neck most days to loosen it up otherwise I just have a great big massive headache all day.

Coffee is an almost guaranteed neck pain trigger for me. It manifest 24 hours later.

If you have neck pain that goes on and on, the problem is that trigger points develop – balls of muscle spasm that restrict the movement of your cervical spine. This causes pain and inflammation and stirs up the nerves leading into the base of the skull. It can then become a migraine trigger in and of itself and produce other neurological symptoms.

The description from Buchholz is probably the best I’ve seen.


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what buchholz describes is spot on. i had been experiencing this neck stiffness tightening on the left side of my neck only exactly the way he describes it on Elswyths post for years before i got my first VM attack that manifested to chronic VM. i still have it on my left side on my is this uncomfortable feeling that goes down towards my shoulder hence forces me to crack my neck to release that tension which develops. i dont undetstand why it only happens on the left side of my neck though? any ideas? plus i have never felt any pain ever. its always stiffness or tightening.


Nabeel I came across a really good masseur in Singapore at Vivo -did wonders for releasing my neck and shoulders. Let me know if you want a name…


yes gabrielle could provide the details to me?

Nabeel I’ve PMd you

Can easily relate to those. I had chronic neck stiffness from the onset of chronic MAV myself and it’s still one of my regular few symptoms. Common to all balance disorders I would imagine. And can complete the vicious circle. I find it it’s definitely from the migraineous rest head pressure I just cannot relax the muscles in order to stop it. It’s always worth trying a warm compress (damp veering on wet facecloth soaked in hot water) followed by some movement. Works sometimes like this morning when my neck was so tight I suspected it had been welded into a fixed position.

Neck stiffness is a big problem for me. Massages help a bit, but the stiffness comes back after a few days.

Amitriptyline resolved this for me.

It has a great reputation for stopping migraine (I know you said it stopped yours very effectively) so it stopping the stiff neck must prove the link in your case.

I never suffered stiff necks pre chronic VM. Mine started with the rear head pressure and 24/7 dizziness and lasted for years. Still constant long after medication reduced the other symptoms to intermittent. Eventually the constant neck stiffness did go completely. A few days ago an extremely spicy meal brought on not exactly a full migraine but migraineous symptoms, head and ear pressure with resulting feelings of imbalance. The neck stiffness came on the next day and became extremely tight and positively uncomfortable when I decided to go out for a walk in very warm and sunny conditions. Although wearing transitions glasses and a brimmed hat I haven’t bothered to add on wraparound sunglasses on top and I suspect the addition of heat and bright sunshine to the already present symptoms caused the exacerbation of neck stiffness.

It’s the vestibular suppressant angle: it calms your brain from seeking to stabilise eyes so strongly.