Severe Migraine and Neck Pain

Neck pain can be an early sign of a migraine or may show up after the episode, leaving sufferer's with a throbbing pain at the back of the neck. According to an online survey generated by the National Headache Foundation, 38% of migraine patients said they always experience neck pain and 31% said they frequently had neck pain along with their migraine headaches.

It is very common for a tightness in the shoulders and neck to cause a cervicogenic headache (or migraine), which is a condition connected to the cervical spine. This occurs because tightness in the neck muscles and joints stimulates nerves in the neck that extend into the head, resulting in the pain traveling to the head, causing a headache. When it comes to the neck and migraine, the same process takes place except that when the signals reach the head it causes a migraine for those who are prone to getting them.

Muscle tightness and neck pain are usually signs of mental or physical stress and posture, all that can be effectively addressed naturally without drugs. Instead of simply opting for medication to treat migraine neck pain, take a look at your overall health and see if any changes need to be made, including finding time to relax, exercise and to learn stress relieving techniques.

Migraine Medication Management

Medication management of migraine and neck pain generally starts with analgesics like aspirin, acetaminophen and NSAIDs, however the results vary from patient to patient. Sometimes a combination of medications is prescribed, however, this approach has the potential for causing rebound migraine. If this approach fails, a cautious use of an opioid can be prescribed, using a sustained release medication around the clock for unrelenting headaches in the hopes of preventing a rebound effect. Invasive practices may also be considered and they include trigger point injections, facet joint blocks, occipital nerve blocks, nerve root blocks, segmental nerve root blocks, etc. it is important to be aware that all of these pharmaceutical approaches have side effects, and do not address the underlying cause of the migraines only attempt to relieve symptoms temporarily.

Natural Migraine Alternative

Symptoms of cervical spine dysfunction usually include tension and migraine headache (cervicogenic headache). Upper cervical chiropractic care is focused on finding and correcting any alignment issue in your neck that can cause not only migraine neck pain, but a number of other chronic health problems and conditions. Because the human response to trauma and injury is to realign the body, down to even the pelvis and hip area, tension is placed on the spine as well as the cranial nerves, nervous system and also affects blood flow. Gentle and safe upper cervical corrections can relieve and even eliminate neck pain, getting the neck and spine back into the correct positions, without jerking or twisting your neck during the procedure.

Correcting underlying neck injuries will frequently decrease or eliminate migraine headache pain. The best and safest approach available to address severe migraine and neck pain is upper cervical chiropractic and positive lifestyle changes that include following a healthy diet plan, getting a proper amount of sleep, exercise and finding a way to reduce tension.

What to Do Next


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Dr. Dan Spinato of the San Diego Integrative Spine Center in San Diego, California is a Rancho Penasquitos Chiropractor and an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Over the past 30 years, Dr. Spinato has helped many people find natural relief in San Diego, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Poway, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, allergy and sinus problems and temporomandibular joint disorders. More information can be found on his website at