Migraines are a type of headache which may occur on one or both sides of the head, more specifically around the temples. It tends to produce a type of intense headache that is throbbing and pulsating.
Typically, it is associated with symptoms that are referred to as ‘aura’. These symptoms may include photophobia (sensitivity to light), nausea, vomiting, flashes of light in front of eyes or feelings of numbness, etc. in the body. A migraine is aggravated by light, sounds, physical exertion or odour.
According to research published in the journal “Pain”, a correlation found a correlation among people with chronic headaches and persistent low back pain.
What Triggers a Migraine?
Although the exact cause of migraines is not known, certain factors have been identified to trigger a migraine episode. These may be certain kinds of foods, some inherited genes or allergic reactions of the body. One thing that is usually ignored, is back pain, or neck pain.
The reasons why back pain may lead to a headache or migraine include:
- Any defect of the vascular system. Any defect or disorder of the cardiovascular system may lead to inadequate blood flow throughout the body. Consequently, this would lead to a lessened supply of oxygen and nutrients, which in turn can result in many complications within the brain/head like meningitis, encephalitis, brain abscess, intracerebral bleeding or some other pathologies, and also to other parts of the body, such as the spine.
- Central nervous system defects. The nervous system is broadly divided into two parts. They are the central nervous system, which comprises the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system. Any insult to the central nervous system, such as any degenerative disease, infection, injury, stress on nerves, stroke, autoimmune diseases or tumors that affect pain signals can be the reason for migraine along with back pain.
- Abnormal chemical properties. There are certain neurotransmitters present in the blood called dopamine and serotonin, through which messages are sent to the brain. If these neurotransmitters are not present at their proper level, this results in an abnormal activation of the blood vessels in the brain.
Can Injury of the Spine Cause Migraine Headache?
Some people with persistent headache and pain, as well as migraine sufferers and chronic primary headaches or secondary headaches, such as tension headaches or cervicogenic headaches, claim that back and neck injuries enhance the frequency of their episodes.
According to a study, the most common disorder of the spinal column that can trigger headache is the degeneration of facet joints in the cervical region. There are several causes for damage to the facet joints which exacerbate cervical-spine related migraine pain.
- Wear and tear arthritis. In older patients, wear and tear changes are common and can result in the inflammation of the facet joints. This leads to muscle spasms and tightness. In this condition, pain is referred up into the base of the skull.
- Joint Injury. Whether it has been caused by a roadside accident or a fall, trauma to the spine may cause the stretching of the capsule of the joint or may damage the cartilage of the joint.
Both conditions can lead to chronic back pain associated with a headache too if the damage is in the upper part of the spinal column.
When a joint present in the cervical region of the vertebral column is inflamed or strained, this inflammation gives rise to secondary muscle tightness and stiffness. This tightness and stiffness of musculature can also cause pain at the base of the skull because here the muscles of the back are attached with the skull, leading to chronic migraines.
Relationship of Poor Posture with Headache and Backache
If you often find yourself slouching while standing or sitting, this can strain the muscles in the neck, back of the head, upper part of back and jaw, and result in the exertion of extra pressure to the nerves of these areas.
As a consequence, poor posture causes pain in the back of the head, , front of head, neck and upper part of your back. It also causes muscles tightening and straining which exacerbate the episode of migraine headache.
Migraine as a Sequela to Chronic Low Back Pain (LBP)
The triggering of migraines as a sequela of lower back pain was examined in a sample of patients suffering from chronic pain in a study that has been published in 1994. All patients were suffering from lower back pain but had no history of headache, upper back, neck and head injury.
The sample of the patients was monitored for years and with proper research, migraine headache was proven a common concomitant of back pain. In many patients, the headache begun or was enhanced significantly after the occurrence of lower back pain. The incidence of migraine was higher in the female population as compared to males.
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Author: Spinal Backrack