Migraine headaches are among the most burdensome type of head pain I see in patients. A migraine headache can cause a significant loss of time, energy and overall health. I know it’s a challenge to find good, effective, long-term relief. Headaches are very complex, and can be caused by many things.
In my practice, I help patients concentrate on a few of the top causes of headaches (musculoskeletal, postural, and nutritional). Many patients with perpetuating migraines have a history of neck trauma i.e. from a car accident, a fall, or even TMJ ligament damage. It’s important to get the neck muscles and joints evaluated by a chiropractor or physical therapist. Weakness in the neck muscles, tendon damage, fascia stiffness, and other joint damage needs a proper examination as part of the long term solution.
In the Journal of Headache Pain (December 2017), (1) researchers examined the relationship and cause of migraine, co-existing tension-type headache, and neck pain in headache patients. One hundred forty-eight people participated in this study.
Out of 148 persons with migraine, 100 (67%) suffered from co-existing tension-type headache and neck pain.
Only 11% suffered from migraine only.
Persons with migraine and co-existing tension-type headache and neck pain had lower level of physical activity and psychological well-being, higher level of perceived stress and poorer self-rated health compared to healthy controls.
They reported reduced ability to perform physical activity owing to migraine (high degree), tension-type headache (moderate degree) and neck pain (low degree).
I’m sure everyone suggests migraine and tension headache sufferers increase physical activity and reduce stress. It’s true but I know how difficult that can be. Part of my message is do something for the migraine, do something for the tension-type headache, and do something for the neck pain.
Here’s my suggestions for self-care, increasing activity and decreasing stress:
If you are only 1 in 9 of those patients that suffer from migraine alone try StopPain Clinical Migraine Relief. In my practice I rarely see migraine as an isolated problem but the symptom of many problems. Most patients have related neck and upper back muscle imbalances and fascial tightness with chronic posture dysfunctions. For these patients I need to show them muscle – fascial stretching. I get all of my patients on a walking program or at least March in Place at home for a few minutes several times a day.
Click here to watch Dr. Jeffrey Tucker's informational exercises and therapy treatments for reducing tightness and pain.
If you can purchase one of these devices I encourage at home vibration-percussion therapy such as a HyperVolt and at home light therapy to the neck such as CareWear. While coming into my office is not always practical, patients notice a big improvement from my hands on therapy with TECAR deep heat such as WinBack. Look for a chiropractor who has this specialty equipment.
I also recommend practicing nasal breathing only all-the-time. I also find many patients need mitochondria support for energy production. Mitochondria are the part of the cell that make energy. MitoCore is a specific vitamin-mineral blend to increase energy and this has help many patients. Last but not least I recommend a specialty topical formula called PhytoZol. This can be massaged into the tight neck areas 3 times a day. This remains my patients best CBD (No THC) topical. To purchase an at home health test, visit Dr. Tucker’s site and receive a discount.
Krøll LS, Hammarlund CS, Westergaard ML, Nielsen T, Sloth LB, Jensen RH, Gard G. Level of physical activity, well-being, stress and self-rated health in persons with migraine and co-existing tension-type headache and neck pain. The journal of headache and pain. 2017 Dec;18(1):46.
Benatto MT, Florencio LL, Bragatto MM, Lodovichi SS, Dach F, Bevilaqua-Grossi D. Extensor/flexor ratio of neck muscle strength and electromyographic activity of individuals with migraine: a cross-sectional study. Eur Spine J. 2019 Aug 9.
Florencio LL, Ferracini GN, Chaves TC, Palacios-Ceña M, Ordás-Bandera C, Speciali JG, Falla D, Grossi DB, Fernández-de-las-Peñas C. Active trigger points in the cervical musculature determine the altered activation of superficial neck and extensor muscles in women with migraine. The Clinical journal of pain. 2017 Mar 1;33(3):238-45.
Mauskop A, Rothaus KO. Stem Cells in the Treatment of Refractory Chronic Migraines. Case Rep Neurol. 2017 Jun 14;9(2):149-155. doi: 10.1159/000477393. PubMed PMID: 28690531; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5498934.