Neck pain burning sensation - National Migraine...

National Migraine Centre
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Neck pain burning sensation

I recently have had chronic migraines but now out the blue have neck pain left and shoulder left and burning on right side! No idea why this is happening all of a sudden but it's making my headaches worse. I've seen neurologist and they say it's nothing to do with my migraines as I have suffered for years , though they are aggravating them and have suggested physio!

I just don't undstand why all of a sudden I'm getting them!! In last few months I've had migraine similar to mini stroke (never experienced that I'm my life ) and different migraines but doctor just says it's only a migraine!! Not sure what to do next other than what the doctors advise , I'm currently taking neurontin which ease the pain and zomig which also help but it's just baffling to me!

7 Replies

Have you had your B12 levels checked? The symptoms of deficiency include migraines, as well as neurological problems.

It's often ignored as a possibility as GPs just

a) aren't aware of the range of symptoms

b) assume B12 deficiency = anaemia

c) there isn't a definitive test and GPs tend to be unaware of a huge grey area on results when people can be symptomatic but test results say 'normal range'

From a brief search on neurontin is also known as Gabapentin - which is known to cause problems with B12 absoprtion so at the very least it might be worth trying another pain solution. B12 deficiency generally occurs because of an absorption problem (or lack of B12 in diet) and correction can require quite large doses - though good news is that it isn't something you can overdose on.

You may find this list of symptoms interesting


and this site may help with approaching your GP or just understanding what might be going on

If you do get B12 tested then suggest you post your results on the PA forum even if you are told they are 'normal'.

1 like

Hi thanks for reply , my doctor has asked me to look up the b12 vitamin to see what I think but I've not had a blood test to see whether this is the cause of it as he hasn't even to,d me it could be due to this.. So am I right in thinking I can take vit b12 aswell as my neurontin ? I Think anything is worth a try. Thank you for your help


Good that your GP has asked about B12

It is best not to supplement before getting the serum test done as it makes interpreting the results just about impossible.

I am not a medic but I would recommend that your GP rules out drug interaction as a cause if you are deficient before supplementing as it would affect the way you needed to be treated.

Suggest you

a) look at the symptom list - check off anything that is relevant

b) make sure your GP is aware that neurontin can inhibit the uptake of B12 so could be a factor if your B12 is showing up either as low or as falling below 500

c) as your doctor to do the Serum B12 test (which should also be done with Folate as your body needs Folate (B9) to metabolise and use B12) but also make sure he is aware that NICE recommendation is to treat on basis of symptoms as the test is not definitive.

Looking at MMA in urine and Homocysteine (waste products that build up if B12 isn't present can help to clarify the situation if the B12 isn't coming out low.

If B12 is showing up as low (or grey range) I'd suggest finding an alternative to neurontin that does not affect B12 absorption and trying supplementing orally and see if that gets your levels up again and deals with the symptoms - which would mean another test after a while of being off neurontin,

ie rule out a drug interaction as the reason why you aren't absorbing B12 first.

If your B12 still says low then that would demonstrate that neurontin wasn't the cause of the mal-absorption - in which case there are other possibilities - such as an autoimmune response called PA, changes in the levels of acid as you get older, gastric surgery affecting the ileum, in which case the treatment would be B12 injections at regular periods for the rest of your life.

There are alternatives to injections but these aren't the normal treatment and won't be available on the NHS (that's assuming you are based in UK). They include nasal sprays (I find very useful), sublingual tablets (where B12 is absorbed through membranes in the mouth) and even skin patches but as methods of delivery they aren't going to be as efficient as injections.

1 like

I wish people would stop saying "it's just a migraine"!

I have neck problems too, and have had burning pain in my head and face and shoulder. It's nerve (neuropathic) pain and neurontin (also called gabapentin, I think) is often used for it.

Try the physio - they may be able to help stretch the muscles out and reduce some of the pain. I've found that getting on top of the nerve pain has helped the migraines a bit, as the pain seems to act as a trigger.

1 like

Hi tea drinker

Yes I know it's very frustrating forme when people say it's "just a migraine " let alone a doctor!! I have been waiting now for months for physio as the neurologist had suggested , so I booked a docs appointment the other day and low and behold they had not read the notes again provided by them , the doctor even stated no letter had been sent until I stated that I had recieved one!!! Sighhhhhh seems it's a constant battle with these people , one I'm not always up for!!! The doc who suggested b12 seems to spend a lot of time away from surgery so almost impossible to see him at times , then I have to get up at 8am every day to see if I can get appointment !, not always possible when I'm not sleeping well ...sighhhh now they have given me appointment for physio for ...March!! Lol well 8 weeks to wait!! And suffer!!


I feel your frustration as I went through a similar charade trying to sort out my chronic pain. As someone who works in health and sends a lot of letters to GPs I know that many letters get filed and not read until the patient turns up at the surgery (although there are plenty of brilliant GPs out there who do read my letters), although if they stopped and read every letter they got and acted on it the moment they got it, they'd never have time to see patients.

So I learnt to wait a couple of weeks so the letter from the hospital would have time to arrive, and then go to my GP and ask for the referral to be made. The way the NHS works these days it seems that hospital consultants can't refer anyone to another speciality such as physio and it always has to be the GP that makes the referrals. The system is wrong!!

Well, it's almost February, and then March will be here, along with your physio appointment. I found heat packs (the nice fluffy sort you can heat up in the microwave) helped ease the neck pain - might be worth a try.


Thank you for your advice much appreciated .. Yes I understand about the lack of time the doctors have in seeing patients but what frustrates me the most is that whenever I see them they never read the notes on me , I always have to explain what's going on and the letter from the neurologist was back in Novemember ! I'm having to find alternatives and solutions from sites like this to help me when I should put my faith and trust in the doctors!, when I first went there complaining of neck pain to the left of my neck (explaining that it seemed like it was my vein popping) they took no notice whatsoever ! Only taking notice when things got worse! Seems like 10 minutes in a doctors surgery is not enough time to explain everything for them to help! I will have to wait to visit again to see the only doctor I think may be of help to me regarding b12 defiancy test which I will ask for next


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