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Spinal headache/Cervical Disc Herniation?
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Spinal headache/Cervical Disc Herniation?


  For approx. three months I have been experiencing what seems to be a spinal headache.  The final straw was when I was on a tractor cutting the grass and I began getting this severe headache from the bouncing. (Although I had some back pain about 2 weeks beforein my upper back and a slight headache) I went for an MRI on my brain which was fine. C-Spine showed Degenerative spondylosis at the C5-C6 level and a small right paracentral disc herniation at C5-C6 which is impinging on the ventral subarachnoid space.  T-Spine was fine. L-Spine showed Degenerative disc disease at L4-L5 and L5-S1 with loss of intradisc signal. A mild bulging annulus at L4-L5 and at L5-S1 a small central disc herniation which is impinging on the central epidural lat causing minimal degree of mass effect on the anterior aspect of the thecal sac.  I am unable to sit in a car as that causes the headaches to intensify so much that I become sick  must immediately lie down to relieve the pain.  Standing can be tolerable at times  and once laying down for a while the pain will almost completely subside.  The headache radiates up from the back of the neck with some shoulder pain, around the sides of my head  through the temples forhead and eyes.  Sometimes I get a very strong pressure sensation as if my ears are going to blow. And the back of my neck tingles, sort of a numbing sensation.  I am not really experiencing any weakness.  I do feel a  strong burning or tired sensation in my neck, shoulders, shoulder blades and  surrounding area.  It is as if that area has become so tired I can't hold my neck and head up with out strain.    Is it possible that this is all caused by a disc herniation?  My Chiropractor has me using in house traction and my family Doctor on Advil 3tabs 3x per day.  I would appreciate your opinion and any recommendation you may have as to how I should proceed with treatment. Thank you for your time.      
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Dear Skelly,
A headache is not the typical presentation of a cervical disc herniation.  The typical symptoms are pain, numbness and occasionally weakness in the distribution of the nerve being pinched.  A headache may be associated, but it is not the primary symptom.
The MRI you describe does not sound too terrible.  The changes are due to generalized 'wear and tear' on the spine and are quite common.  Surgery would likely not be recommended based on the results you described.
Your headache is similar in quality to a tension headache which often radiates into the neck, causing pain.  They are very common.  The best therapies are to reduce stress and allow yourself to relax a bit.
Speak to your physician about these matters and see whether he doesn't agree.
Good luck.







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