Everyone’s migraines are a little different. Maybe they start with the sensitivity to light or noise. Perhaps they make you nauseous, and maybe, they just radiate pain from your head down into your back and neck.
One of the first things to figure out about your headache is whether it transitions from headache to migraine. In Migraine Headache Awareness Month, some of the critical things to pay attention to are how your headache starts, the intensity, and where the pain ends up. The pain is often fleeting for many people, especially those with visual migraines, but the side effects last for hours or even days.
Those headaches are often accompanied by vertigo, nausea, and a lasting dull, but not necessarily intense, headache. For others, migraines start with a dull throb and quickly build in intensity, often spreading to the neck or even lower back.
Can Migraines Cause Neck Pain?
According to the American Migraine Foundation, new and on-going research is helping doctors make a better distinction between headache types and the pain associated with them. In a study published in January 2022, Dr. Rashmi Halker Singh, a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, said that while some headaches beginning in the neck are cervicogenic, there is emerging evidence that neck pain can be an early warning symptom of a migraine.
One of the key indicators of a cervicogenic headache, as opposed to a migraine, is increased pain associated with specific neck movements. However, 89 percent of migraine sufferers also had associated neck pain. A doctor should be able to help determine if your headaches are cervicogenic, which can be relieved through physical therapy, or migraines that require a different course of treatment. The range of your neck movement will be one of the significant predictors of which treatment method is better.
Can Migraines Cause Lower Back Pain?
In addition to upper back pain, there is some evidence that migraines and lower back pain go hand-in-hand as well. Several different things can contribute to a combination of a migraine and back pain, including:
- Bad posture
- Premenstrual syndrome
- And more
These factors can cause your body to react with this combination of symptoms. When you have a migraine accompanied by back or neck pain, it’s a good idea to see a chiropractor.
Can a Chiropractor Treat Neck Pain and Migraines?
Visiting a chiropractor to discuss headaches accompanied by neck and back pain will start with a full assessment followed by treatment, which can provide relief in several ways.
- Identifying the causes of your pain: Your chiropractor will look for any physical causes of the pain, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, and bulging disks.
- Posture screenings: As part of your examination, your doctor will evaluate your posture to see if ergonomic corrections can help you avoid pain.
- Treatment: Many chiropractors’ offices will also offer massage therapy, physical therapy, and even nutritional counseling in addition to spinal adjustments to identify what triggers your pain. Then, the proper treatment method will be applied for short and long-term pain management.