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Neck/Shoulder Muscle Strain Causes Headaches
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Neck/Shoulder Muscle Strain Causes Headaches

Hello, I've always had headaches, 2 years ago I began getting a new one. My PCP worked with me and found that it was the muscles in neck and upper back causing them. I took Flexeril first as needed, then nightly, and when I missed a dose, I would get a headache. Doc then took me off saying I could not take it for an extended time.
I was assigned a new PCP, and saw her for the headaches because it's very intolerable and I when I turn my head to the left I feel pain, like someone pinching me inside. She did a cspine xray, showed nothing. She said it was ok for me to take the Flexeril every night that it was safe to.
I have been out of Flexeril (trying to see doc to get more) I've been getting the headaches, one lasting 2 weeks. It was dorment when I woke up, but within hours was full blown. The pain was sometimes on my left side, the next day on the right, but always some pain in the back. I also feel 'tight' sometimes when waking, like I am stuck shrugging.
When it finally went away, I had what I call a headache hangover in my neck, the pain in my neck was never this bad. Before only hurt when I turned my head to the left, now I had that plus soreness and pain without turning, and it was worse when I did turn.
I was in a minor car wreck 3-4 years ago, only had minor neck/back pain for a few days. Is that the cause?
Is this muscular? I am desperate. When I have these headaches, it consumes me and the pain is all I can think about. Are chiropractors any good? Would massages help? I am 25/female in relative good health. THANK YOU for your time, much appreciated!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Sounds like tension type headaches that could be due to  musculoskeletal causes(muscle aches, tension, etc...) but given your car accident, it could be a bad disk also. Hard to say without examining you and taking a full history. What has been described in the literature is a cervicogenic headache in which neck disease either due to degenerative disk disease or other problems can cause headache. If it is indeed a muscle tension type neck strain causing a headache, you may benefit from trigger injections done at a pain clinic. THere are risks, but usually if it's done by a trained physician you should be ok. THe newest therapy is botox injection for tension type headache in order to relax the muscle and provide relief for a few months theoretically. Be careful with flexeril as you can sometimes run into overmedicating or even a mild addiction. Consider a special headache or pain clinic and if clinically indicated, you may need further imaging of your cervical spine such as with MRI. GOod luck.
7 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I forgot to add, that I have no vision problems, as with migraines. I have not had a migraine in many years, I think not since teen years.
I sometimes get dizzy if I move to fast when I have the headache. It only lasts few seconds.
I have no other issues other then the pain in my head and neck that I mentioned above.
Thanks again for your time.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I think I have a similar problem as Booky.  And like her I don't think my problem is just muscular.  I think the muscle problems I have are a symptom of the underlying nerve problems that are going on with me.  Let me explain further . . .

I was told my problem was muscular but after over a year of physical therapy (including deep tissue massages and rolfing techniques) and much much money spent, I still have the same problem and in fact it seems worse.  I definetly think I have a neurological problem with my Trigeminal nerve on the left side.  I feel weird tingling painful dull sensations under the left eye, on the left temple and forehead, and at the chin on the left side.  These are all areas that the Trigeminal nerve go to.  Also the nerves seem to really affect the muscles in this area.  I have had an MRI of the brain done (with and without contrast), CT scan of sinuses, MRI of TMJ, bloodwork, multiple mouth guards from dentists.  All tests have proven to be negative.  I have a feeling that I cannot relax my muscles and that I am also always "shrugging" my shoulders or that my shoulder is just coming up on its own no matter what I to do prevent it.  It feels as if the shoulders (especially my left one) are being lifted up.  I have tried meditation and biofeedback and that definetly helps a lot but it never quite clears up the problem of the nerves.  I've also tried numerous medicines and they all don't do a thing except have horrible side effects.

I also wonder if this problem was caused because I used to pop my TMJ quite often for a few years as I was experiencing a lot of ear pressure.  I would pop my jaw manually to try and relieve the pressure I would get in the ears.  I had been doing that for at least 5 years since 1997 and maybe even further back but cannot remember much past that.

The problem is compounded and is very bad in social settings (both at work and with friends) and when I am under stress.  I am not really sure what to do now and feel fairly desperate and hopeless.  But, I KNOW one day I should get better.  I am wondering if you have any clue as to what the heck could be physically wrong with me.  I know emotional factors worsen the problem, but they cannot be the root cause.  

I wake up every morning with very tight neck, scalp, facial and shoulder muscles (mainly left side) and as soon as I take a shower the nerves of my Trigeminal nerve really seem to act up.   This can last almost all day till night time basically.  It is a numb feeling, but it is dull pain and can be sharp pain at times too depending on the circumstances.  It just does not feel right.  I do not feel coordinated as well and sometimes have trouble walking.  I definetly have trouble focusing and comprehending when people are talking to me.  The problem affects 3 of my main senses---sight, hearing and feeling.  Since it is on my left side and underneath the eye it feels weird to look out of my left eye.  I also seem to have a hard time hearing when the symptoms are really acting up.  

I am always worried if people can tell that I am out of wack, and for the most part (at least I hope) they cannot.  Feeling worried about that compounds the problem and it is definetly a viscious cycle.  I plan to see another neurologist to get some more opinions.
OH, An interesting occurance that happened to me this year was when I got all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed after a dentist told me I needed to because he thought my problem was occuring due to clencing.  Well after I went under my mouth was totally number for like 10 hours.  That day was one of the best days I've had in the last 2 years which is very very very sad to say!!!!!!  So somehow the numbing of my mouth around my wisdom teeth felt like an instantenous cure of my horrible nagging problem.  I was so happy that night and day, but the next day as I recovered from the wisdom teeth removal everything started to slowly come back.

I am willing to try anything almost to alleviate this pain and get back to leading normal healthy lifestyle.  

Please provide any and all advice you can.  Also, I will plan to post this as my own question.  I just thought since my symptoms are very similary to Booky, maybe this would be helpful.  Also, Booky do you have any of the things I have described???  Thanks much!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I to have been a headaches (that is plural, as in more thenone type) sufferer sruggling for "the cure".
One type was a sinus headache cased by a deep sinus infection that I did not realize I had. The Sinus headache would trigger others.  Resolving that with antibiotics taken for 45 days was on to the next.  Ibuprofen, Flexeril and Vicoden would offer relief but was not the cure.  Started taking Welbutrin to help combat potential anxiety and stress (possibly caused by the aches and pains as i have read else where).  This has help with headache #2.  The Stress headaches were aggrevating the actual condition that we (Doctors and Physical Therapist) are now working to resolve.  Condition diagnosed by X-rays (waiting for MRI) is "kyphosis and scoliosis. There is Degenerative Disc Desease with disc space narrowing and osteophyte formation centered at the C5-6 and C6-7 levels. There is associated bony narrowing of the neural formina bilateraly." There is a very good possibility my "cure" can be just through therapy (the optimist prognosis) or surgery fusing the vertibrae (the pesimist side). Either way there is "A cure".
You might be fighting more then one problem is why I wanted to forward my history so far...
Good Luck; there is hope!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
BTW: My Ex is in a Botox study and is having very positive results as long as she doesn't get the placebo. (In other words, it works.)
Added facts for myself is I haveonly seen my GP and therapist and will be going to orthepedic next (probably should be a neurologist after doing my research).
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Avatar_n_tn
I have TMJ and it is known to cause neck, shoulder, and headaches and face pain.  I don't know if this might be related to your problem or not.  But I use a mouth piece at night and it has helped reduce my morning neck stiffness and headaches.  
You might want to go to someone who has practice in TMJ or check with your dentist.
kara
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Avatar_n_tn
Sounds like you definitely need an MRI to check the discs.  Plain films are worthless but family docs think they are not (alot cheaper than an MRI).  Insist that you get one.  If it is negative than you can go to see a pain management doc for possibly some injections.  Good luck!
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