Link Between Migraine Headaches and Back Pain
Usually, when a person encounters a migraine headache, they do not associate it with back pain. Is there really a link between migraine headaches and back pain? If so, how are they linked?
First, we need to look into the difference between back pain and neck pain, where it comes from, and how this pain could be linked to a migraine headache.
Difference Between Back Pain and Neck Pain
Back pain can be caused by a certain number of things that can create pain that shoots through the spine or a specific area while you are in a certain position. Some causes of back pain are the following:
- Tense muscles
- Disc breakdown
- Ruptured discs
- Injury from a fracture, accident, fall, or sprain
- Other possible causes of back pain can be arthritis, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, infections, kidney stones, fibromyalgia, stress, and more. There are many things that can cause your back to feel pain whether it is by an event that occurred or a health issue you are encountering.
Neck pain affects 10% of the population each year and is commonly caused by whiplash from automobile accidents. Other causes of neck pain can be from the following:
- Muscle strain
- Systemic disorder
- Herniated intervertebral discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Overuse of neck or arms
Like back pain, neck pain may also be caused by an injury from a fall or contact sport.
Depending on the cause of your neck pain, it could lead to a tingling sensation or numbness in your arms, hands, or fingers. With back pain, it could lead to numbness in your legs.
What is the Most Common Headache Migraine Symptom?
The most common headache migraine symptom is the aura and the sensitivity of light, noise, and smells. The aura is the most notorious symptom associated with the migraine and it can distort a person’s vision or block out their vision completely.
The aura can come before a headache migraine begins and stick around during the headache migraine attack. During a headache, migraine is when the individual starts to become sensitive to light and sound. It is at this moment the person retreats to a dark and quiet room to help ease the discomfort.
Since headache migraine symptoms affect the head and eyes, many people are unaware that back pain can be a headache migraine trigger.
How Can Back Pain Trigger Migraine Headaches?
Usually, health care professionals will treat headache migraines, and back pain separately by different people, but a study published by The Journal of Headache and Pain in July 2019 has shown there is a link. The following are a few ways back pain is linked to headache migraines:
- Muscle Tightness - When a joint is inflamed or injured in the cervical spine it can cause muscle tightness and stiffness. Muscles begin to ache as they become deprived of oxygen and can limit your range of motion. If the muscles near the neck are tight and stiff, this could increase the possibility of headache migraines to occur.
- Spine Injury - For many patients, headache migraines and occurrences of common headaches were found to have begun or intensified after the onset of back pain. Young individuals could experience headache migraines after an injury from a fall, motor vehicle accident, or any type of trauma that could cause injury to the cartilage within their joint or stretch the capsule to the joint. For those who are older, the facet joints may experience inflammation or “wear-and-tear” that may lead to muscle spasms and tightness that is led up into the base of the skull.
- Poor Posture - Having poor posture puts a strain on the muscles throughout the head, neck, and back. Over time, maintaining poor posture can lead to back pain and bring about headache migraines.
When there is a misalignment in our spine, it can be uncomfortable or even painful. While the above are only a few ways back pain is linked to headache migraines, the reason could lie even deeper than that. Let’s look at our top two bones of the spine: the atlas and the axis.
These top two bones are located right under the base of the skull and are in charge of how the rest of your spine responds. What this means, is if one or both two upper bones of your spine are out of alignment, the rest of the spine will twist and turn itself to follow their lead.
Even if there is no injury to the lower or middle back, if there is something that occurred that may have misaligned your upper cervical spine, the rest of the spine could suffer and you could begin to feel back pain lower than that area.
These top two bones protect your brain stem and when they are out of alignment, they press up against it and the surrounding nerves causing muscle tension, strain, and lower blood and oxygen flow to the brain and body which can cause headache migraines to appear or increase in occurrence.
Can Migraine Headaches Triggered by Back Pain be Treated by a Neck Adjustment?
The upper cervical bones of the spine are the only bones that cannot adjust themselves on their own. The rest of your spine follows the lead of the top two bones of your spine, so a neck adjustment will be able to help treat your back pain. Once the upper cervical area is corrected, the rest of your spine will begin to move slowly back into place and release the tension that was built up throughout your spine.
Can Chiropractic Offer Headaches Disorder Treatment?
Headaches and headache migraines are deeply linked to our upper cervical spine. A misalignment there can weaken the soft tissues surrounding the area, distort the body’s communication by compressing the brain stem, and lowering the amount of oxygen and blood our brain receives.
The soft tissues can bring about headaches as muscles become tight or small ligaments are torn. The body’s communication, if distorted, can cause the brain to misinterpret signals from the body that makes us feel the pain that is not there.
And the lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain not only brings about headache migraines but because parts of the brain are starved for oxygen it could alter the brain in significant ways if left untreated.
Chiropractors are known to study the spine and its effects on the body, and an upper cervical chiropractor focuses on the upper cervical spine specifically and how a misalignment pressing on the brain stem can affect the rest of your body’s functions.
Best Chiropractic Technique for Headache Migraines in Kalinga?
The best chiropractic technique for headache migraines will be the upper cervical as it corrects to the top two bones of the spine. Unlike general chiropractic, the upper cervical uses very gentle and precise movements to correct the most important part of your spine.
As the misalignment is corrected, the pressure placed on the brain stem is released and proper brain to body communication is restored, as well as opening up normal blood flow and oxygen back up to the brain and helping the rest of your spine move back into place. It’s a small adjustment that makes a huge difference in our bodies.
Chiropractic Back Pain Triggered Migraine Practitioner Near Me
We can help you if you have back pain that is triggering your migraine headaches. As upper cervical professionals, we can let you know if we see a misalignment, and scans can indicate how it is affecting your body.
Your brain stem is the most significant part of your body and if the upper cervical spine is left untreated it can create various complications down the road if it has not for you already. Many patients who have already tried medication and surgery still experienced huge improvements after their upper cervical adjustments. If you want your body to begin to repair and heal itself naturally, the upper cervical is highly recommended.
We would like to invite you to accept our invitation for a free 15-minute phone consultation to speak with one of our upper cervical chiropractic doctors where you can ask any questions you may have and decide if an exam or care might be right for you.
You can click the Contact Us link on this page, or alternatively, give us a ring at the office at