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Awful headaches

In the past couple of weeks of the pain issues in my neck and arms(herniated discs at C5 and C6 with extrusion, separation of the disc into the nerve bed in my neck. C4 and C7 are bulging also), I have had an increase of headaches. I have gotten these awful headaches for a couple of years but I never thought that they were related to my neck pain issues. I actually had a hard time describing these headaches but I after searching for answers, I think I have a possible name for them. Cervicogenic headaches. Granted I am not trying to do a self diagnosis here but the description of these headaches is almost spot on. It starts at the base of my head and kind of wraps around to the front of my head to my temples. Its almost a muscle spasm type of sharp pain that stops me right in my tracks. With it, it usually follows with a muscle spasm in my neck down my arms and into my shoulder blades. I also almost feel an aura just before it happens.
Has anyone else here experienced a headache like this? How do you deal with it? I read what they would do to help diagnose this and I am so not liking it and debating not even bringing it up to the Dr. because I don't want them to do the test. I would rather deal with the headaches. It sounds like some of the causes is from arthritis or other nerve issues in the neck. Im hoping if I can get my herniated disc issue taken care of that the headaches would go away too.
Tracie C


  • I have the same problem, with tinitus, and I can tell the headache is coming because the ringing comes first and grows louder, then the creeping pain from back to front and into throbbing. I had C4 to C7 laminoplasty and foraminotomy a year ago to fix bicep pain, tricep twitching and what felt like a non-stop electrical charge running through my hand. For about 6 to 7 months things were great but then neck pain returned and the ringing and headaches started. I've tried various meds and the lyrica, gabapentin, etc. don't do anything, as well as the OTC pain meds (i.e. tylenol, advil, etc.) being utterly worthless. Muscle relaxants, hydrocodone and prescription naproxen or diclofenac help control this to some degree. It helps with the muscle pain and headaches, but not the occasional stabbing and hot razor blade cutting tissue feeling to the right of my spine. Actually nothing short of being knocked out erases that feeling, but gotta work so I'm just trying to control the headaches.

    Anyway, there's a nerve issue it seems, which no one has figured out yet. It is part of my problem but not all. A good part of the problem is my head/neck pitching forward, as result of the surgery, and 'muscle guarding' the the body does in response to the injured area around my spine no one has figured out yet. Treating the muscle problems and neck orientation does help reduce the # of incidences. Physical therapy and dry needling help with muscle tension and reducing frequency of the headaches, but not eliminating it. Sometimes PT doesn't help at all and misery sets in, then only meds help keep me sane.

    For now I'm resolved to working hard on PT to restore natural posture and reduce out of control headache and pain frequency. Meds for when things escalate and my body doesn't respond to physical and natural remedies. Then continuing to search out somone that can figure out where the bad nerve stim is coming from and hopefully relieve the pinch, swelling or whatever the trigger may be.

    My keys are to never give up trying to find workable solutions, educate family members and friends that this is a very real and utterly crappy condition that I will do anything to control and ultimately eliminate (in other words, stop second guessing me and my doctors or patronizing me with your armchair theories), and continue to ignore people (and on occasion slap the crap out of the idiots) who know it all, think they understand my issues through their utter lack of experience and knowledge, or falsely believe nature will run its course and heal all or that natural remedies can even adress 1/1000th of the pain I feel daily.

    Hope this helps you :)
  • Thank you for your response. IT does help. It helps knowing that this isn't some phenomenon that just happens to me although I feel bad because I don't wish that on anybody. I have some crazy stuff that happens that I just cant explain sometimes. Sounds like you are having a rough time with it yet. I hope you are able to find a way to cope with the pain and hopefully something that will take the issue away. I just found out that my niece was suffering from these headaches before she found out she had Chiari 1 malformation with encephalitis. It was actually the headaches that helped them find the diagnosis in time to fix the issue before it became even more serious than it was. I had such a hard time putting these headaches into words that I couldn't even give a doctor something to go by. I don't know that it would have helped much anyways. I don't get the ringing in my ears but more of a tightness in my head and itchiness of my head. I also had some numbness in my face the other day before I had an episode last week. I never had that before.
    Tracie C
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