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National Migraine Centre
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chronic pain as a trigger for migraine?

I have chronic pain in my shoulder, face, arm & neck caused by some minor anomalies in my spine and resulting in poor posture. It seems that the only trigger I can identify for migraine (apart from very hot weather) is a flare up in pain. My pain management consultant said this was quite possible, and I've read that there is a theory to support this (can't recall it at the moment as I am just coming out of an attack & head is very fuzzy).

Have embarked on a very necessary course of physio which has resulted in a flare up and a lovely day of migraine. There's no point avoiding physio because it has to be done. I'm expecting it will get easier as time goes on.

Just wondered if anyone else had a connection between pain & migraine? I don't think there is any simple solution, as with chronic pain it's about managing it the best you can, which in turn manages the migraine situation. Most of the time now the migraines are better, but I have had a blinder today.

I probably didn't need to ask this question, just needed to let off steam after a day of struggling on because I wasn't well enough to drive home, and had a few OK-ish spells in between taking medication that lulled me into thinking I wasn't that bad, until the next round of nausea / headache. I never learn.

4 Replies

I too have vascular malformations which affect my spine and upper rhorax, i also find when i have a flare up of pain in these areas especially neck and shoulders, the migraine comes with as part and parcel. Its difficult to know how to manage it as i take different painkillers for each pain and don't want to overmedicate. I really do sympathise with you.


I frequently wake up with a tension type neck ache which often develops into a migraine later in the day!!

This is a relatively recent phenomonon but I can't quite put a finger on why it is happening.


I don't know either, but a physio I was once treated by explained that the trigeminal nerve, one of the nerves that plays a big part in the pain bit of the migraine, runs from the brain and dips down into the upper part of the spine ie the top of the neck. He seemed to suggest that if this nerve was irritated by neck tension it would cause headaches.


thanks for that, Tea drinker.


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