How can I get rid of a stiff neck that's triggering migraines?Neurology Sport Medicine
I am a light sleeper who frequently suffers from stiff neck and migraines due to my stiff neck. I suspect that this may be due to my sleeping position, quality of sleep and pillow. I have been relying on panadol extras for the stiff neck and migraines till date, but lately they are not as effective anymore. Thanks for the advice!
Thank you for your question and Dr Paul has given you some excellent advice already so I will try to add something rather than duplicate.
Migraine are usually quite a unique set of symptoms which can include an aura with flashing lights, nausea and a throbbing-type of headache. More commonly headaches are of the tension-type. It might be worth looking into which ones you are really experiencing as the management might vary.
Sometime if you have been stressed at work, sleeping badly or adopting a bad posture (as many of us are doing these days) it maybe that you are experiencing the latter type. In these situations, as Dr Paul suggests, seeing a physiotherapist or massage therapist might be quite helpful. Equally, acupuncture can be beneficial in these situations. Stiffness in the neck can be due to degeneration, but it might also be from inflammatory conditions or muscle tightness. I would certainly advocate seeing someone about it if symptoms persist.
We often attribute headaches and neck pain to the way we sleep! While this might be true in some cases, I believe many of us suffer from neck pain and headaches due to posture, using our phones/tablets while in bed and computers at work.
Perhaps try cutting down on using these items where possible or looking at things from an ergonomic perspective.
Good luck with your symptoms.
If the neck is especially stiff only when a migraine occurs, it is likely that the migraine is causing the stiff neck and not vice versa.
So the treatment would be treatment of the migraine. If the neck is chronically stiff, seeing a physiotherapist may help.
Thank you Lynn for getting in touch with us.
1) "Stiff neck" can mean many things, from a normal neck sprain, to wear and tear of the spine. It could even be affected soft tissues around the spine or posture problems that you alluded to. Before we jump to conclusions, it might be helpful to speak to your GP.
2) "Headaches" can also mean many things. It may be wrong to assume that it's definitely due to the stiff neck as well, although you are right in that headaches can also be triggered by a "stiff neck".
3) Panadol Extra contains caffeine, which by itself can trigger headaches. This is especially so because you will typically need higher and higher doses of them.
4) It would be more helpful to get a proper diagnosis before us doctors are able to advice you on the best treatment and management.
5) Otherwise, you could try to tail down your use of medications, alcohol, and coffee. Do try the following lifestyle changes as well:
a) Regulate your sleep
b) Audit your neck and body posture throughout a 24 hours period
c) Start some exercises (although sometimes exercises can make it worse, so do check with your Dr)
d) See a physiotherapist if you suspect that there really is nothing else to it other than your poor sleep posture.
e) Keep a food diary if you suspect that it is food related.