by Nesreen Suwan, M.D.
If you suffer from chronic daily headaches, the hidden sources causing those debilitating headaches may stem from your neck.
Injuries or disorders such as acute whiplash, caused by car accidents, or bulging discs, caused by work related injuries, may contribute to those incapacitating headaches. Chronic tension in the neck related to office or computer work may cause headaches as well. On the other hand, common headaches such as migraines or tension headaches are frequently associated with neck tenderness or stiffness.
Neck related headaches may trigger or coexist with other common headache types such as tension, migraine and cluster headaches, creating a compounded clinical picture. TMJ and sinus sources may also set off a major complex headache when combined with neck related headaches.
Headaches originating from the neck are common and frequently located in the back of the head. However, headaches in the forehead or around the eyes are also common due to the "referred" pain pattern. They are described by patients as severe, pounding, throbbing, stabbing and nauseating. Those headaches have been ignored, overlooked or discredited, not because they do not occur, but because some doctors have not been trained on how to make the diagnosis. Even if they do know about the condition, they may not have the facilities to diagnose or to treat those types of headaches. The neck area is a high stress zone, and it should be evaluated in detail and treated in any patient with chronic or recurrent headaches.
The important fact in medicine is that medical conditions may coexist. The above noted headache types may be combined with new emerging serious headaches, such as headaches related to brain bleeding, tumors, or infection, or headaches related to high or low pressure in the fluid around the brain. As a result, a regular visit to a general physician or a physician in another specialty may not be enough to get to the core of what is causing the headache or to determine if there are better treatment options. A headache specialist consultation may be necessary and is clinically warranted.
Dr. Suwan specializes in treatment of headaches, migraines and fibromyalgia. She is the director of Advanced Chicago Headache and Fibromyalgia Center in Suburban Lisle. Dr. Suwan is highly recognized as a headache specialist and she is a nationally known speaker in her field.
Dr. Suwan, is Loyola trained and American Board certified in Neurology and Pain Medicine, with extra certification in headache medicine and Botox treatment. To schedule a consultation, please call (630) 420 8080 or visit http://controlchicagopain.com.
Which Came First: The Headache or the Neck Pain?
As Featured In Glancer Magazine, March 2012