Tuliv Migraine Library

    Do Migraines Start in the Neck?

    “It feels like my migraines start in my neck and move forward. My chiropractor told me I have migraines because my neck is out of alignment, but nothing he does is of any help. I don't believe that is the reason I get headaches. Can you hep me?” Jan Anderson.

    I have been asked to explain this many times and have even had people tell me their chiropractor tried to convince them that their headaches were caused by misalignment of their “headache bone” (there is no such thing). 

    Before I give you an explanation, I must clarify that I am talking about classical migraines (compound, complex, chronic, cluster, etc.) and not talking about headaches resulting from some physical condition or reason such as a car accident or fall. 

    To understand what is happening during this migraine neck pain association, we must look at how the body tries to handle any type of headache, even those associated with the after affects of drinking too much alcohol. 

    Our bodies have only one physical remedy in an attempt to ease the pain in the head and that remedy is to try to hold the head as still as possible. Even taking a single step can be a thunderous event when your head hurts. Thinking about how your head is connected to your body, logically the only way to keep the head from moving is for the neck muscles to constrict – to tighten up – to prevent any movement of the head. Repetitive constrictions of this type over a long period can cause painful knots to form in the muscles.

    Although we don’t hear young migraineurs complaining as much about neck pain associated with migraines, Eileen for example, who had suffered for 43 years with migraines, actually had such neck pain associated with her migraines that a visible knot had formed at the base of her skull. 

    Most migraineurs admit they can sense a migraine forming before it actually reaches the headache stage. Even before you feel the headache pain, your body is aware of an impending headache and because your neck muscles have been conditioned to react, they begin to tighten and become inflamed with pain. At some point after this painful event has started, your headache occurs and that is the reason it feels like the neck pain caused the headache. 

    The pain in your neck happens because you get migraines and not the other way around. However, because the neck pain precedes the actual migraine headache pain (two separate types of pain) it feels like the neck pain has caused the migraine. 

    Just knowing that the neck pain may not be the caused of your migraines doesn’t relieve the pain. We can help advise you as to the best method for you to get relief as part of a complete migraine plan which may also include Tuliv Migraine Defense for the prevention of your migraines. 

    Thank you for you questions, Lyle Henry - Tuliv MD Research

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