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Severe Headache Cervical Herniations

sissyjanessissyjane Posts: 62
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:39 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello, I'm new... I have a question. I heve numerous herniations at C5-6,and C6-7. I also have narrowing of the foramin in many places, and bone spurs. Also slight central stenosis. Three nights in the last two weeks, I wake up with a killer headache, and nausea. I never have nausea...ever. I vomited on one of those days.

I forgot to tell my surgeon about this, and wonder if I should call him? Is this normal? Help!

I'm waiting to be put on the surgery schedule. Insurance and all that fun stuff.


  • I would call the NS nurse and have her add it to your chart (just for the record).

    Good luck,

  • sissyjane said:
    Hello, I'm new... I have a question. I heve numerous herniations at C5-6,and C6-7. I also have narrowing of the foramin in many places, and bone spurs. Also slight central stenosis. Three nights in the last two weeks, I wake up with a killer headache, and nausea. I never have nausea...ever. I vomited on one of those days.

    I forgot to tell my surgeon about this, and wonder if I should call him? Is this normal? Help!

    I'm waiting to be put on the surgery schedule. Insurance and all that fun stuff.
    Howdy SissyJane,

    I got severe headaches with my C5/6 - not so much with my C6/7 (but the hernia was a little smaller with the C6/7 for me). I am now having issues with my C2/3 and the headaches are BACK again, but the base of the back of the head - and with those *I* too get nausea to the point that I can't eat much, and if I don't catch the headache quick enough, I too throw up!

    I told my surgeon to which it alarmed him, but no further action was taken yet. He added it to my "exam notes", and told me to let him know if they increase, and if the nausea increases. I have stayed about the same so far. I am also on Lyrica because I am having issues with the top of my latest fusion. With the overall reduction of nerve pain, I have been able to eat more. If the headache comes back 3 out of 10 of those headaches, I get nauseous.

    I would tell your surgeon, especially if the hernia's are hitting a nerve root or the cord. Take care and good luck. Please let us know how it goes!! *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi there,

    Severe pain can definitely cause nausea,which dulls your appetite making you unable to eat. It's difficult to say whether or not its related to your herniations etc. My condition is painful to the point of making me cry for hours on end and has made me feel nauseous (not vomit), but that's not to say severe headaches don't make you vomit, because they can and do.

    Perhaps it's related to some of the medications you're taking? NSAIDS such as brufen, naproxen, diclofenac et seq are renowned for causing both nausea and vomiting because they attack the stomach lining, causing bleeding of the stomach wall. If you are taking them, I'm sure your doctor's prescribed something that will protect your stomach lining by preventing acid production. However they prevent headaches!

    The only other alternative is that you're having an unusual reaction to a prescribed drug or an adverse drug interaction.

    Whichever it is, it's slightly worrying that this has suddenly started to happen, so in your position I'd definitely let the doctor know as soon as possible.

    Bye, Val
  • The drugs I am taking are Amrix for muscle spasms, and Vicodin for the pain. I make myself eat before I take anything.

    Thanks to all for the responses. I'll call the surgeon's office on Monday.

    I only get the headaches when laying down, and had one again last night that woke me up...Wierd.
  • sissyjane said:

    I only get the headaches when laying down, and had one again last night that woke me up...Wierd.

    Good to see you are calling your NS Monday. :-) My headaches come whenever they want! Thinking...have you tried a different pillow, or maybe sleeping more elevated like in a recliner? "Only when laying down" is odd, so that is making me think that just adjusting your sleep position *might* make a huge difference. Have you given that a try? Just tossing ideas to ya!! Let us know how this goes. :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • My headaches are worse when I lay flat on my back.... The neck/arm/shoulder/torso hurt if I lay on my sides.... Needless to say I haven't slept well in months. I make a nest out of pillows to cradle me and change possitions many times during the night.

    My PT think I have occipital headaches from the neck problems. I agree with her 100%. For me there is really only the medication, ice/heat and electromagnetic therapy to help with the pain until D day.

    I did get a new recliner that is oversized and I might try to sleep in it. Several neckies have suggested them.

  • Sorry to hear about your pain.

    When I first started having problems I would get bad headaches and it would be hard to lay down without pain or pressure. And eventually they got me on anti depressants and that helped reduce the frequency and strength of my headaches for the most part.

    However I've had rather bad ones now and then and always have something everyday. I'm on Vicodin , Soma (muscle relaxer) for the pain and spasms. I quit taking the NSAIDS because I found they didn't work long enough or good enough to be worth it. I am also on a low dose of Neurontin, which helps with nerve pain. However I haven't noticed much of a difference lately, so I'm thinking of getting off it.

    Also I recently was given Lidoderm patches (Lidocaine) that helps with the shoulder or neck pain somewhat. They are a pain to keep on, so I have to put some surgical tape on the patch so it doesn't fall off during the day or night.

    Temperpedic swedish neck pillow has helped me a lot...Or any memory foam pillow over a regular pillow helps. Sometimes I use my tens unit.

    Amrix is good. However it was too expensive for me...Soma works really good.

    Maybe the Vicodin is too strong for you? I had vomiting feeling when I took it once years ago...But Ive been on pain meds for two yrs now so I tried the vicodin again and it didn't do that ... So who knows.

    Contact your doc and good luck.
  • Hi Julie,

    I get bad headaches that can cause vomiting, but they are not as frequent as they used to be. I take Imitrex, a migraine med, at the onset of the bad headache.

    The lidoderm patch that Butterfly mentioned made me so nauseated that I had to quit using them.

    Regarding vomiting and pain: One doctor told me that when the body is dealing with a large amount of pain, it's as if it can't deal with it and tries to vomit the pain out. It makes some sense to me. This happened the most often when I was under huge amounts of stress. Are you dealing with lots of stress or is that a dumb question to a neckie? :-)

    I hope you feel better and get some good meds or ideas to stop the vomiting and headaches.
  • Mornin Sissyjane,
    I get similar headaches,mine almost always start at night too.And they make me sicker than a dog,I recognise them from having had them with previous neck problems. Sometimes a flexiril and going to bed helps me...but not always.Definetly let your Dr know,and hopefully your surgery will give you immediate relief.my neck surgeries were very successful.Unfortunately,I think I need another one.
    Let us know what your Dr suggests for relief,and try to have a good day! Sagehen
  • Hi!

    I too get migraines from my neck problems. I have noticed that my scalp kind of locks up- I put my fingers in it and try to move my scalp and it will not move! It puts my head in a vice and as a result I get severe headaches like you just mentioned. I would definitely talk to my doctor, I take maxalt at the onset of one and that knocks it out- my doctor gives me samples. Good luck and I hope you get relief from them, bad enough having neck pain with that thrown on top, I can very much empathize!
  • Hi,
    I'm new here also but glad I found so many more people dealing with spine issues.

    I would call your docs office and let them know of your headaches and vomiting. Maybe they can give you something to lessen them and stop the nausea.

    I too got headaches but not nausea. After 3 1/2 years of having disc bulge,I found out that my C5-6 had herniated on 2 sides causing compression on spinal cord and C 4-5 had degenerated enough to be removed too, along with DDD (the start of all my spine issues),stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), spondylitic changes, osteophytes bone spurs compressing nerve roots), and osteoarthritis.

    Before the herniation, I just dealt with the pain through pain meds, chiropractic care and non-invasive treatments. Once it herniated, I was told multiple ACDF with hardware or face paralyzation if I didn't have it done. Researching all of the statistics and numerous failed outcomes people have had, I was hesitant to opt for the surgery but went ahead and had it done on Nov. 13th, as the risk of being paralyzed was greater to me than the risk of surgery. Most people I have found, ALWAYS say "NO SURGERY", as you can end up worse off.

    I'm only 12 days post-op and have relief in my left arm but have even greater pain, burning/stabbing in back and sides of my neck and throughout my shoulders. I put up with this same pain for years before the surgery,but honestly, it's worse now after surgery. They tell me that it's just retracable pains from my nerve roots being freed up but it can also turn out to be permanent nerve damage. I have had a few headaches still, but hoping they don't continue as the other pain has. It's too early to tell yet in the recovery process. I will know by the 8 week period if it's permanent or not.

    I also have 2 disc bulges at T9-10 and T 12-L-1 that were found when the C disc was found back in 2006. I will be having an MRI done asap when my neck is healed enough, as I'm having more pain in my back, tailbone, radiating down my right leg and pins and needles in my foot. They think they may be herniated now too. Thanks to DDD, it only gets worse and it's not much to look forward too for any of us with it.

    Hope this was helpful in some way. Good luck to all who have decided to opt for surgery, as it should be a last resort option only, just my opinion, as I wish there would have been another option for me but wasn't.

  • My symptoms seem to be a bit worse, but I'm not sure if it's just because I'm thinking about them more. Now I have numbness in my right hand as well as my left.

    My surgery is tenatively set for Dec. Seventh. No Christmas for me :(

    I have DDD as well, and my back hurts as well as my neck, so we'll see what happens next.
  • I suffered a cervical injury (work comp. related) in 1994 and had a 2 level fusion (C5-6,C6-7) in 1996. Had an excellent result with great fusion and was back at work by Feb. 2007. I had 5 great years (although I did develop a bone spur at C5-6). I started developing very severe headaches, with nausea and vomiting and my neurologist diagnosed me with cervicogenic migraines. I also now get cervicogenic vertigo and have found out that the 2 levels above my fusion have herniated. I have been hospitalized due to the severe migraines and vomiting. I am allergic to almost all pain meds., but I can and do take migraine meds. frequently. The headaches will wake me from sleep (when I can sleep) and I have to vomit almost immediately and this can continue for several days (and I can't take anything by mouth when I am so sick). I've lost over 50 lbs. since last year. My neurosurgeon refuses to fuse my C3-4, C4-5 vetebrae (although he did recommend it in 2008). He also says my headaches are not from my neck (so I have a neurosurgeon disagreeing with my neurologist). Chiropractor agrees that my migraines are from the herniated discs, but at this point I can no longer tolerate chiropractic, massage or PT. The ER doctor definitely said my migraines are due to my herniated discs, but I'm stuck in a very bad work comp. system in Florida, and am now awaiting another surgical opinion.
    If you can tolerate PT, I'd recommend a really good cervical therapy program that can build up the muscles in your trapezii and neck in order to lessen muscle spasms and give your neck better support. It didn't work for me, but I waited too long (due to work comp. issues)
  • Mine doesn't sound as bad as yours, as the headaches are fairly rare, and the vertigo is Okay unless I bend over.
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