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Anyone with a herniated disc get headaches a lot/daily?

ButterflyPainBButterflyPain Posts: 290
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I've been dealing for 10 months with what I just found out is a herniated disc at C5 shown on the MRI. On the C-spine Xray showed at C5/C6 bone spurs/osteoarthritis but mild to moderate. Aside from the burning, aching, numb pain I get in the neck, arm and hand, I've also been getting headaches.

These headaches first seemed connected to stress then turned into an everyday thing. The pain was usually on the top left side, felt like someone was pushing down on my head. I also had similar nerve pain like the rest of my body pain. I also had pain at the base of the skull and neck.

I've had an EEG, CAT scan, and MRI of my brain which is negative/normal.

Lately the headaches have been less and Tylenol with codiene helps a bit.

I was wondering if anyone else gets headaches? or know if headaches can be a symptom of a herniated disc ?
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Comments

  • I get chronic daily headaches but they dont seem to be cervical related. I have had everything checked out in that regard. They do seem to be vascular related as they respond to medication that works on the blood vessels (i.e. migraine-related medication, but they aren't migraines). I HATE taking medications but I do successfully control them with Cafergot (Ergotamine + Caffeine) and Topamax (Topamirate) - you could talk to your doctor about these.

    I was using Tylenol & codeine for years to control the headache pain but all that ended up doing was the tylenol (acetaminophen) has affected my liver and I was needing increasing amounts of codeine. The Cafergot and Topamax prevents the onset of headaches in the first place.
    Keep positive!

    Bruce

    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Thanks, Ill ask him if there are any headache medicines that sorta prevent headaches. I think it is time to start trying something else aside from just a pain killer.
  • Butterfly Pain- I get daily headaches also. My are due to several bulges from c5 down to c7. My PT explained they are from the occipital muscles spasming. Muscle relaxers help sometimes, different stretches also help.

    Clarissa
  • That makes sense. My Neuro say I had an occipital neuritis before I had the mri, so maybe it's connected to my herniated disc and neck spasms.
  • I also have a herniated c5-c6 disk and get headaches in my temples that don't go away. Vicodine and flexeril and advil relieve temporarily but come back. I had chiropractic and this helped and looking into traction device and cranial therapy.
  • Am Sheppard- What is cranial therapy?
  • I've been dealing with headaches and migraines ever since my accident. They've only been getting worse.

    Worse yet, my doc says the surgery will help my arm, shoulder pain but my neck and headache pain will not go away. To me I don't see the point then.
  • Remember everyones symptoms differ. Prior to my first surgery I did have headaches. I called them "hangover headaches" but without the alcohol. I couldn't even move my eyes from side to side with out it killing me. I had ACDF and 2 levels and afterwards the headaches were gone. I am having more issue with my neck and those headaches are back. I am hoping that my future surgery will cure the headaches that I get now.
  • I know how it is to suffer with both head and neck pain. I hope to have answers myself shortly after I have an MRI later in the week. Frankly I think its going to take a miracle to figure out what is exactly the source of my pain. You might say I'm on the road less traveled and I'm lost! Unless there is something obvious on the MRI images, I think my doctors are lost too! Right now I take MS Contin three times a day. I'd been trying all sorts of meds in the past couple years but over the winter my doctor decided I was being undertreated. No kidding! My head pain would ramp up so bad I couldn't stop vomitting. Twice this winter I went to the ER even after trying meds at home including antinausea drugs. Since I have a histroy of serious cranial infections, they don't give me a hard time at least. This experience left me with a couple large hospital bills. I sure wish I didn't have to take the MS contin but it would be irresponsible for me to keep ending up in the ER.

    I've had MRI's of the cervical spine. I have DDD etc. I never had spine surgery. But with the headaches ramping up I returned to my neurosurgeon who operated on me a few years ago. Frankly I'm worried I have cranial scarring (adhesions) attached to the dura of my brain causing these headaches to increase in a growing fashion. In a way, I have a traumatic brain injury along with cervical spine pathology which includes a retrolisthesis from the DDD and osteoarthritis. I'm lucky in that I have a large sized spinal canal, otherwise I'd be in more trouble then I already am.
  • My headaches from herniated C4-C7 discs were what landed me in the ER leading to them finding the herniations.

    I had chronic pain and headaches for years but when the discs herniated onto the occipital nerve, the head and back of skull pain was incredibly intense. Dr's were unsure if I was hemorraging from the brain, getting cluster headaches or migraines as the pain would come on so suddenly and severe that I would actually drop to the floor.

    Where you feel the headaches I think depends on which nerves are being compressed but I would say without a doubt, it's probably the primary reason for the headaches.

    After the disc replacement, I've had the most headache free 2 years of my life so don't lose hope, your surgery should help but do be prepared for some residual pain for a bit post op.

    You may want to ask your Dr. which nerves are being compressed to help confirm the cause of your headaches.
  • my doctor who i completely trust told me if your headaches start from the back of your head/neck starting with some tightness and get worse developing into a full blown headache then it's your cervical disks.
  • I too have headaches about five out of seven days. They seem to be cervogenic. I was thinking about some medicinal marijuana, but then remembered that is illegal here. :D


    Doc did a medial branch block which seemed to work. Now we are waiting on the OK for the RF neurotomy.
  • I had a L-5/S-1 disk herniatation, instead of in the neck but, until I had my first Laminectomy and the pressure relieved I had migraines on a weekly basis. They would last 3 days at a time and I had to visit the ER every week for a year because of this. It really took a toll on my life! After surgery my migraines have returned to normal, just one or two a month. That sounds like a lot since migraines are almost impossible to deal with, but it's a heck of a lot better than every single week of my life! Good luck!
  • AlsmomAAlsmom Posts: 32
    edited 08/07/2013 - 3:49 AM
    Wonder how all of the posters from 2008 are doing. Am I looking in the wrong place or what. I have bad Headaches daily neck pain TMJ fibro, MS. Looking into facet injections C4-5 C 5-6 and T-5. Fearful this will make things worse.
    Alsmom
  • I have been searching for an answer to my chronic daily headaches and dizziness for 3 years, know that I had some issues at C5-C6. I saw a laser spine surgeon on the advice of my cranial chiropractor. He says no guarantees but surgery to decompress the nerve root, fix the herniated disk and remove the bone spur may help. Migraine meds and prescription pain killers do not help. I did PT, chiro, acupuncture, etc., This is one of my last hopes, short of nerve decompression surgery for migraines.

    Karen from Arizona
  • Have you consulted with a regular board certified spine surgeon? Not one from the laser spine centers......if you have not, I strongly suggest that you do, and see what they recommend. Cervical nerve compressions can cause headaches, but I would check with either a neurosurgeon or a board certified spine surgeon rather than using those laser places advertised on tv.
  • mafixitmmafixit Posts: 4
    edited 10/03/2014 - 5:14 AM
    I did see a traditional spine surgeon, who said my MRI quality was crap, but he saw enough, and he told me, and I quote, "None of your pain is coming from your herniation. I am not saying it's all in your head, but buy this book and read it." It was a mind-body connection book (I already meditate, do yoga, etc). He said, "Pain only travels down. Your headaches could be causing the pain in your neck and shoulder, but your neck and shoulder cannot be causing your headaches." He never mentioned the compression, or the burning pain I feel in my arm and shoulder, the headaches that start at the back of my head on the left side and work their way up, etc. He only mentioned the herniation. It was a joke. Even the Osteopath who sent me to this guy rolled his eyes and said "what???". I can't afford another consult.

    The compression and herniation are both on the left side at C5-C6, right where I hurt ALL THE TIME. Believe me, I want this fixed in the least invasive way possible. I have tried EVERYTHING else and if someone has another suggestion or something for me to try to alleviate these chronic daily headaches, I am all ears. I am sick of drugs that don't work and make me feel crappy tired with a headache, and tired of spending thousands of dollars on c-opays for chiro, acupuncture, supplements, BHRT, special diets, specialists, etc., all of which take my money, look at me and shrug their shoulders.

    This is the only thing out of any of my tests that appears in black and white, that appears at exactly where I have my pain.

    The Laser Spine Center was not one that was advertised on TV. I was sent there by one of my chiropractors who had treated me for this and could not help. She has a great respect for this center and suggested I get a consult, which I did. The thing is, they won't do surgery unless the diagnostic block gives me at least 70% pain reduction.

    There was study done on patients with C5-C6 compression and herniation. More of those people had chronic daily headache than did not. Surgery alleviated the headaches for the majority of those people.

    Again, I am listening. If anyone has any suggestions, I am all ears.

    Karen from Arizona
  • I had occipital headaches anywhere from a few times a day to just a couple in a week. It all depended on the flare ups in my neck and shoulder. They were horrid and they would stop me in my tracks. I had talked to my neurosurgeon when I had my appointment with him and he said that they were probably related to the herniated discs and my spinal compression. I am 3 weeks post surgery from ACDF. I have had a couple headaches since the surgery but not quite as severe. I had them for several years before this and didn't have a clue what they were.
    Tracie C
  • rtconant1 said:
    I had occipital headaches anywhere from a few times a day to just a couple in a week. It all depended on the flare ups in my neck and shoulder. They were horrid and they would stop me in my tracks. I had talked to my neurosurgeon when I had my appointment with him and he said that they were probably related to the herniated discs and my spinal compression. I am 3 weeks post surgery from ACDF. I have had a couple headaches since the surgery but not quite as severe. I had them for several years before this and didn't have a clue what they were.
    Tracie,

    Did you have traditional or laser surgery? My surgeon says they will remove the bone spur, decompress the nerve and then laser the herniation back in place. They tell me it's a 2 hour procedure and that I will be back to normal activities in 2 weeks.

    Karen from Arizona
  • I had the ACDF surgery with the instrumentation. I had part of the disc pushing against my spinal cord so that wasn't an option. There was so much of the disc nucleus that there wasn't much left.There really wasn't many options for me personally
    Tracie C
  • A bonus of my C3-C7 laminoplasty to decompress my spinal cord was an end to chronic headaches. I'd had them all of my adult life and never guessed they were due to (then unknown) spinal issues. Apparently the two neurologists I saw for headaches during those years didn't consider the possibilty of cervical spine issues either. I had the surgery due to other symptoms (the stenosis was congenital in my case). My sister is a rehab doc and told me she'd only trust a particular neurosurgeon to mess with her neck, so that's who I saw :) I am very skeptical about use of lasers for this type of surgery...studies do not support it.
    Angi
  • to the disc, burning it and making it impossible to remove later if need be, plus the risk of damage to other structures in the spine.
    I looked heavily into that stuff when I was facing surgery both times and the outcomes were not all that great.
  • hi. I have been seeing a neurologist for my headaches caused by herniated disc C5-C6 and ostophytes. He just referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon. Is this the right way to go? I thought a neurosurgeon would have been the right doctor?
  • Some choose a spinal neurosurgeon and some choose an ortho spinal surgeon........
  • hello,
    I just wanted to let you know that I had chronic back and neck pain for over a decade. I lost my early twenties to my early thirties. I finally ended up finding a place in Tampa called the laser Spine Institute and it changed my life. in fact, I got my back my life.they can give you a free consultation over the phone if you can't get there which makes sense. Even have your MRI's sent electronically for them to review and they will call you and go over the results. If they don't think that they can help you, then they will tell you and be honest with you. there were people there from all over the world just for their surgery. it's not as invasive as traditional surgery and the recovery time is much much less then than that of traditional surgery. I just wanted to let you know because I've been in a similar place as you are right now and I only wish I got an answer sooner. this may not be the answer for you, but I had 3 disc herniated in my neck as well as bone spurs and they dealt with all of them. good luck to you. I wish you the best. If you have any questions then please just ask me.
    sincerely,
    T. Minarchick Jr.
  • I've been through 5 major back surgeries. Three lumbar and two thoracic. I also have a Spinal Cord Stimulator for the pain in my legs and suffer from DDD.
    Before my last surgery in Sept. of 2014, my surgeon told me that he had seen a potential problem in the cervical are on a CT scan that I had done last fall.
    Lately, I would have headaches in the back part of my head. I also have noticed a slight tingling in the left hand the past few days. At first I thought the problem was due to a sinus or stress headaches.
    After reading the recent post on this site, I will consult with my pain management doctor this Tuesday when I have injections done on T6-T9 for what he thinks is arthritis.
    Thank you folks for your post. It clears up some of the questions that I've had concerning my headaches and neck pain.
  • I have a C4-5-6-7 fusion and now a herniated disk and cyst at facet joint on C-4. I mirror your pain description and headaches. I take vicodin daily and it helps. All my pain in on left side. I am getting multiple opinions on how to address my C-4 issues. So far, all indicate... post conservative measures and injections, that a C3-4 fusion is probable joining to the existing fusion. One oath wants to go posterior while a neurosurgeon wants to go anterior. No decision yet but soon. Hang in there!
    ButterflyPain said:
    I've been dealing for 10 months with what I just found out is a herniated disc at C5 shown on the MRI. On the C-spine Xray showed at C5/C6 bone spurs/osteoarthritis but mild to moderate. Aside from the burning, aching, numb pain I get in the neck, arm and hand, I've also been getting headaches.

    These headaches first seemed connected to stress then turned into an everyday thing. The pain was usually on the top left side, felt like someone was pushing down on my head. I also had similar nerve pain like the rest of my body pain. I also had pain at the base of the skull and neck.

    I've had an EEG, CAT scan, and MRI of my brain which is negative/normal.

    Lately the headaches have been less and Tylenol with codiene helps a bit.

    I was wondering if anyone else gets headaches? or know if headaches can be a symptom of a herniated disc ?
  • Sandi. You speak of the laser places as advertised on tv as a bad thing. I had laser spine surgery on July 8, 2014. I was off work ONLY for two weeks. After a few months, I was running and riding motorcycles again. Before laser spine surgery I was home after work every night, sitting in a recliner. Laser spine surgery gave my life back to me. So please don't speak ill of something you have no idea about. I have no idea if these surgeons are "board certified". What I do know is the "board certified surgeon" in my city wouldn't even speak of surgery with me.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,940
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  • barrenabbarrena nottingham , ukPosts: 2


    I've been dealing for 10 months with what I just found out is a herniated disc at C5 shown on the MRI. On the C-spine Xray showed at C5/C6 bone spurs/osteoarthritis but mild to moderate. Aside from the burning, aching, numb pain I get in the neck, arm and hand, I've also been getting headaches.

    These headaches first seemed connected to stress then turned into an everyday thing. The pain was usually on the top left side, felt like someone was pushing down on my head. I also had similar nerve pain like the rest of my body pain. I also had pain at the base of the skull and neck.

    I've had an EEG, CAT scan, and MRI of my brain which is negative/normal.

    Lately the headaches have been less and Tylenol with codiene helps a bit.

    I was wondering if anyone else gets headaches? or know if headaches can be a symptom of a herniated disc ?

    Hiya , after being told for 6 years after complaining about severe neck nerve and muscle pain i had , "cervacial dystonia" , i moved hospital and g.p. to a different city , after 3 mris of neck and back they reviled "a large discosteophyte" complex displacing my spinal cord , my c6 disc totally gone almost , c7 bulding into cord , i have surgery in 4 weeks time. The headaches are unbearable at times mine are allways at the back of the skull behind the ear loab , i get unsteady on my feet hopefully surgery will help however i have been told after that the only aim of the operation is to loose the nerve pain in the arm ????? , no neck pain relive is guaranteed , i hope you get on ok i myself can tell you as well as many others im sure that youre headaches are very symptomatic of bulging and herniated dics in the cervacial region .

    If anybody out there has had the operation i am going in for acdf  c6-c7 , and was suffering from simular symptoms was the operation a success regarding relive from nerve pain and headaches ? many thanks 
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