Migraine and neck and shoulder pain
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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In at least two situations, patients may have migraine-type headaches associated with neck and shoulder pain.
The first condition is osteoarthritis. When patients have osteoarthritis, they may develop irritation of nerve roots. This leads to muscle spasm in the neck. The end result is severe pain radiating into the shoulder and up the back of the head.
Pain may also radiate down into the upper back between the shoulder blades.
The pain that radiates into the shoulder from a neck problem is a deep aching pain that must be differentiated from a primary shoulder problem. Careful evaluation by a specialist can usually establish the distinction.
The pain that radiates into the head is also a deep ache although sometimes sharp shooting pain may also occur.
The treatment for this involves first establishing the diagnosis, then starting a coordinated program of physical
therapy, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck, traction, supportive measures such as a neck support pillow, and medications. Sometimes injections, acupuncture, and chiropractic may be useful.
The other condition that presents with migraine type headaches as well as neck and shoulder pain is fibromyalgia. This soft tissue form of rheumatism typically causes neck pain radiating into both shoulder areas. People with fibromyalgia also often have severe headaches. Chronic fatigue and non restorative sleep (sleeping the whole night but still feeling exhausted), and short term memory deficits can be present.
Treatment for fibromyalgia involves establishing the diagnosis. Medications, physical therapy, exercise, and cognitive behavioral therapy may be of assistance.
The key is to establish the diagnosis and rule out other potentially more serious conditions.
Get more information about migraine and neck and shoulder pain and related issues as well as...
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Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
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