Neck and headaches indicate migraines

Headaches and neck pain indicate migraines

Those who complain of headaches and neck pain at the same time could suffer from a migraine. This context occurs frequently, but is rarely recognized on an outpatient basis, as the German Migraine and Headache Society (DMKG) explained.

Headaches with pain in the neck at the same time indicate a migraine attack, like Dr. Tim Jürgens, neurologist at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf explained. In practice, this connection is often not considered. Headaches with simultaneous neck pain are caused by the trigeminal nerve, which e.g. is responsible for the perception of pain in the face. The occipital nerve also causes symptoms. This is responsible for the supply of the back of the head and the neck. If the trigeminal nerve is activated during a migraine, pain in the neck area and headache on the back of the head occur. This context is often not recognized in medical practices. The result: Patients have to undergo numerous examinations, which, from the perspective of a headache society, are unnecessary and stressful.

“In an American study of patients with migraines, up to 50 percent suffered from nausea, a common symptom of migraines. Up to 70 percent complained of pain in the neck during their migraine attacks, ”explained Jürgens, member of the DMKG. Pain in the neck area is one of the most common symptoms of a migraine attack. If the attacks occur around three to four times a month, from the medical point of view, treatment with drugs is useful. In addition to beta-blockers, conventional medicine also administers antidepressants such as amitriptyline, epilepsy medication and other active ingredients such as flunarizine. However, drug therapy should be accompanied by sports that increase endurance. Although relief was achieved in most cases with sport, it is still unclear why this is based on evidence.

Unnecessary costs for the health system If a doctor establishes a connection between neck pain, the typical symptoms of migraine and headache and all other findings are normal, further tests for diagnostics are unnecessary in the opinion of the headache expert. Above all, the x-ray of the cervical spine or a magnetic resonance tomography of the cervical spine (cervical spine) would be superfluous here, especially since patients are too unsettled and exposed to unnecessary radiation. The range of diagnostic tools in this context causes unnecessarily high costs for the patient or the health insurance company, which can be avoided if the problem is identified at an early stage.

Interdisciplinary diagnostics for other symptoms If patients are older or suffer from neck pain without a temporal connection with a migraine, further diagnostic procedures are necessary. "Close cooperation with other specialists may be necessary here," says Dr. Tim Jürgens. Other diseases can be hidden behind the symptoms. For example, patients could experience signs of wear and tear on the cervical spine or even an acute onset of stroke. Interdisciplinary cooperation between doctors is then absolutely necessary. However, before undertaking any medical interventions on the cervical spine due to neck or headache, a neurologist should be consulted, as the specialist emphasizes. "While surgery for an acute herniated disc in the area of ​​the cervical spine is justified, it should be ruled out that it is a disease that can be treated conservatively, such as a migraine."

There are other treatment options available in naturopathy. In addition to the biofeedback training, successes in psychosomatic therapy, neural therapy and the already scientifically recognized Asian acupuncture treatment have already been observed. At least one alternative therapy can be considered in parallel. (sb)

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