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Chronic daily headache, Alot of neck/shoulder pain!

I have had chronic headaches for 2 years. The headaches themselves remained daily (usual on sides of head, occasionally on back of head) with a decrease in the sever flare ups but still no clear pain free periods. Most days I have a constant mild to moderate ache in my head which varies in intensity throughout the day with flare ups of really bad pain once or twice a week. The Bad headaches tend to be on one side, sometimes spread to whole head and hurts more if I move my head. The pain is sharp and my head almost feels like it
27 Responses
28355 tn?1201200260
Wow your problem certainly has hit a nerve and generated a lot of discussion. As you can tell, you are not alone with your problem. Patients can certainly have a change in there headache going from migaine type symptoms that then become daily. Often this is the result of medication overuse causing rebound phenomena. I think it is important that you evaluate your rx medication use as well as over the counter medications. If you use a lot of caffiene or take medication with caffiene in it then rebound is very common and it will be unlikely that you will gain control without stopping those medications. Moslty imaging studies fail to show a cause as I think has been your case. The neck can certainly be a generator of pain and since you are on the computer a lot you may need to look at a better ergonomic design. Some patients will do well with trigger point injections (steroid and lidocaine are given) into the occipital nerve if the pain is locallized. Pulsed Radiofrequency Ablation of the occipital nerve can also help some patients. I am not sure there is any quick fix to this problem but I hope I have given you some food for thought, GS
Avatar universal
I'M no MD-- just an ex dentist who suffered with this **** for years before fixing it on my own. It sounds to me like your headaches and shoulder pain are coming from your neck--specifically the neck muscles and more specifically the scalenes, and SCM muscles, probably with some help from the upper traps. you get his prblem from forward head posture--quite common in today's day and age of computers. You should get a book by Clair Davies called  the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. Read the head & neck and shoulder sections and then go to work. Warm shower to loosen up the muscles, then triggerpoint work, then stretching.You can find great scalene/trap/SCM stretches all over the net. You also need to have good posture thru the day--your head needs to stay balanced over your spine or else the muscles have to work too hard and go into spasm--see a website by Jolie Bookspan for this or get a little red book by Paul D'Arezzo on posture. IF I am right, you'll feel better in a month or two, amybe less. The more often you do the therapy, the quicker you'll get better. I did it 3x per day for 45 minutes each time. Pain free now
Avatar universal
I have the book but have not done nearly as much work as you have. Do u do 45 mins every day. Also, was your headache constant and one sided and came out of the veiw. I am at present having some trigger point dry needling which seems to have helped the headache but the shoulder/neck (left side still hurt like mad, daily). Sometimes my arm aches too, pain is best described as tight and stinging. Could we keep in contact?
Avatar universal
i am happy to keep in contact with you, as long as you realize I am not an MD and am not prescribing treatment,-- I am only offering you my experiences--you should consult with your MD before you treat yourself. my email address is ***@****. contact me there and i wil tell you my story and how i fixed it. In short, it was 45 minutes per session-- 3 sessions per day every day. Dont say you cant do that. 1 before work 2 lunchtime 3 after work 4 bedtime--there's 4 !!!! Plus you can work certain areas with a theracane for 10 minutes a dozen tomes per day if you want. I work my scalenes and SCMs at least 6 times per day-- I do it while I am watching television. Please answer these questions.
1. are you on the computer alot?
2. do you have tightness in your chest muscles in addition to the shoulder and arm symptoms
3. do you have what seems to feel like circulatory issues in your arm(s)?
4. what do you do for a living?
5. Are you overweight?
6. how old a are you?
7. M or F
8. (only if you want) If F, are you large chested? (trust me I have a reason for that question)
Avatar universal
I can totally understand your pain...I was diagnosed with chronic and tension migraines about 4 years now and what helped me most was physical therapy...and some simple excercises that helped strecth the neck muscles.
Avatar universal
Hi Mike

Thanks for taking the time to help me and I do understand that you are not a MD. For a more detailed version of my story visit my blog at www.dailyheadache.co.uk . In answer to your questions

1)I am on the computer a lot. The day I got my headache I had spent the morning looking up (for about 4 hrs with breaks) as was controlling a winch to the top of an electricity pylon

2)I have a small amount of peck pain on my left peck. This is on occasion as compared to my left sided neck and shoulder pain which is more or less constant. I also get pain just around my shoulder blade.

3)My arm feels heavy and weak, not sure what causes it but does it sound like a CIRCUITORY ISSUE? (again this is not all the time, bout 20% of the time)

4)I was working on the electric pylons, replacing parts, but since my headache and pain start, came on one day out the blue, I have not worked as until the last month or two I have had a headache that on its best day is moderate.

5)I am a 23 year old male

6)I am not overweight, I weigh 10 and half stone.

7)Also sometimes my neck feels weak, I can feel tension sensation in neck and head, shoulder pain is like a stinging ache and finally since a child I have always had a slightly tilted head. It tilts to the right although MRI of neck did not reveal any significant problems!

Hope this helps, any other questions please do not hesitate to ask. Where your trigger points really obvious or did you have to dig around to find them. Also could you recommend any stretch/exerciser sites. (I am always concerned when I stretch that I will make myself worse!) Did you (when u started) find that you made things worse?

Thank you so much
James Blackmore
Avatar universal
I am grasping at straws here.

My daily headache is in the back-side of my head and neck pain along with it. I have multiple other symptoms. Memory problems, lack of co-ordination ect. ect. I won't list it. It makes people think I'm just "CRAZY." I won't go there.

My question is, Has ANYONE ever heard of a condition where someone is heat intolerable and cold intolerable.......For instance a cold breeze on the back of my neck, my head or spine makes me not feel anything; like my brain is shutting down. My pulse drops to the high 50's. My skin feels like it's on fire in my face and torso yet the back-side of my head, my hands and feet are freezing. My head is hurting and I go into confusion. I feel no feelings. I am severely slowed down. My skin is white as a Ghost!

Anyone heard of such a thing? Am I crazy?

Please, HELP ME! Anybody out there that knows what I'm looking for to get well?
Avatar universal
You sound about as fed up as I feel with having no relief and no answers. Only thing I can come up with is my low pulse means something cause I my pulse falls when I have my pain and other symptoms.

And I've had doctors blow off my symptoms as panic attacks when I actually had Pneumonia. Ended up in ICU one of these times.

Take someone with you to the doctor to back you up on what they have seen of your symptoms and be determined not to leave without some kind of answer.
Avatar universal
I've been told I have one small bony spur, and a ever-so-slightly pinched nerve.  However, I was told these things should have not brought on the following:

I have had stiff neck and shoulders for at least 3-4 months now.
Gets only a LITTLE better when moving around during the day, but job requires me to be a desk computer.  Pain increases (worsens) upon lying down (have tried all positions).   Still quite stiff in morning.  I have tried professional pain-massage therapy (only temporarily alleviates problem); 800 mg of ibuprofen doesn't touch it; two Aleve doesn't help; lidocaine patches don't help; (allergic now to Skelaxin); cervical traction makes it worse; adjustments from chiropractor doesn't help; heat only temporarily helps; tried five types of cervical pillows, to no avail; trigger point injections with lidocaine, Kellog, do not relax my muscles.

Stress may aggravate the situation, but I feel that this pain creates most of the stress, because when I am relaxed, it comes on.

I'm tired of the pain.  Must I go to a local neurologist?  I can't currently see how he would help me.  Thanks if anyone replies.

Avatar universal
Nerve pain can be difficult to treat; I've been dealing with occipital nerve pain for 30 years (began when I was 17).

I've seen neurologists, neurosurgeons, multidisciplinary groups, etc., but the most help I have received has been from pain clinics and physical therapists. I recommend asking your primary health care provider to refer you to a competent pain specialist in a pain clinic setting. Don't be afraid to speak up, and be prepared to switch pain doctors and/or clinics if you are not happy.

Nowadays, it seems as though new drugs or treatments are coming out every day, so try to stay educated on your illness and new therapies that come out.  

Things are certainly quite different from when I first started dealing with the pain of neuralgia!

Jeff Verive
Avatar universal
Hi i am the orginal poster of this message. i have read alot about headache types anjd also problems with nerve and muscle pain which i have sufferer chronically the last 2 years. I am 23 and a Graduate.i am NOT a doctor.

SLOWBRAIN - Go to a neurologist get scans (MRI) and tests done, work backwards ruling things out. An MRI scan and blood work can rule out alot of the "worse case illness" and this will at least help put YOUR mind at ease. Find a doc that will listen and understands your experiences and never over play any symptom, be 100% honest and this will help build trust and relationship with your doc. I have a GP who has been brilliant although by her own admission she is not a headache/pain expert she referred me to people who could help me further. Seek further medical help and try not to get stressed or worry during the ordeal you suffer, this will make any problem worse. Good luck and dont give up, but if all the docs say the same then listen to their guidence, rule out the problem and they will cross it off there list.

WANDERA - If all treatments have failed and you have seen a Doctor (GP) and have tried meds (from doctor and not over the counter pills) then get a referral to a Neuro. He can get an MRI. This can see nerves that are trapped as well as identify structual problems and would give a much better idea of what is going on. If all else has failed then that would probably be the next step. If you havent already seen a medical professional (family doctor, GP), see one as they will be able to help.


If you want to get an answer from the neurologist in this forum then i think you need to create a post(your own question on board). I have been tring to post for a month from UK and have read alot of posts and the neurologists never usually reply to "piggy backed questions". They are very busy people and are not in front of the pc all day long. They are real doctors.

Hope this helps

Neuro - could you still address my question as i am still no further. Many thanks
Avatar universal
I stumbled upon this website while searching for home remedies to treat a stiffand painfull neck of mine.  I can totally empathise with those of you sufering from chronic headaches. I use to suffer anywhere from 5-6 migrains a month until my MD and Nureologist prescribed Topomax.....this was about a year ago and it has helped tremendously. However, what I suffer from now is a really bad stiff neck, In fact I can not bend my head even slightly to the left!  I have tried ice, hot showers, Ibroprofin as well as a muscle relaxer that my MD prescribed.  Any suggestions out there?   At this point I can really use some.  Thanks
Avatar universal
Constant daily dull headache mainly on my right side, not during sleep, more so after a few hours when i`m up and when i ly down i get a high pitch buzzing in my ears. Drink makes it 10times worse the next day and no pain killer helps.
Well I started to get my headache back in November 2004 and it came out of no where.I was heading off to be bed after being out socialising with my friends. I went off to bed and I tried to sleep but i kept thinking if i close my eyes i`ll die because this high pitch headache came over me. It was like my head was about to explode. Even a whistling in my ears started and it persisted until finally i fell asleep. When i woke up the next day the headache started again and the same headache happens now till this day. The
Avatar universal
Constant daily dull headache mainly on my right side, not during sleep, more so after a few hours when i`m up and when i ly down i get a high pitch buzzing in my ears. Drink makes it 10times worse the next day and no pain killer helps.
Well I started to get my headache back in November 2004 and it came out of no where.I was heading off to be bed after being out socialising with my friends. I went off to bed and I tried to sleep but i kept thinking if i close my eyes i`ll die because this high pitch headache came over me. It was like my head was about to explode. Even a whistling in my ears started and it persisted until finally i fell asleep. When i woke up the next day the headache started again and the same headache happens now till this day.

I don`t know what to do it`s a dull kind of pressure headache for the last 3 years but i`m not stressed? I`ve been to docs for amitriptilene etc but none of it works...?

I was in a car accident in 2001 and fractured my neck in c5 and c6 but i fully recovered and my neck is strong. I do weights and excercise a bit. what can this out of the blue headache be? still not gone?????

Avatar universal
You may want to ask your doctor about an "occipital nerve block". I was having bad head pain on the back of my head which I was shooting up from my tense and stiff shoulders and neck. The neurologist did a nerve block which lasts for 2-3 weeks but you could also use Botox I was told which lasts for three months and in the meantime maybe get massages and work on the real problem.
Avatar universal
A note about occiptal nerve blocks. They are only temporary cures, as is the botox and may come with some odd side effects. Tissue atrophy is one of the problems that I encountered after only about 6 rounds of nerve blocks. They ended up making my headache worse as the tissue surrounding my blood vessels atrophied itself away. It was definitley an odd and almost unheard of situation, but it happens. Again, the bad part of either one of these solutions is they are only temporary and neither one focus on the preventative side of your pain.

A suggestion would be to see a really good neurologist. It sounds like you may have some form of nerve damage. Especially considering your history of the accident, something seems not quite right.

I have had the same headache for over a year and a half and it is almost under control now, so I can really understand your frustration. Best of luck.

Avatar universal
Have you been tested for Lymes or West Nile virus as you have extreme stiff neck, headaches, odd twitches, tremors, these virus enter your nervous system through your spinal fluid. Mennigitis also has the symptoms you mentioned.
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed as having a C5-C6 bulg of 5.5 MM I also had a min. bulg of C6-C7. I had the disc going staight into my spinal cord which was causing the right side of my shoulder and arm to be in unbarable pain. I had fusion of both areas.
Before having the surgery I complained of migraines an all that come with those wonderful gifts. Nausea, blurd vision, sound and light sinsitive. I was told by my surgeon that the headaches where not caused by the neck problem as it was above the nerve damage.
After surgery, I thought the migraines where getting better. I now think it was the heavy drugs for recovery of the surgery that helped.
I am now worse then ever with the migraines, not to mention all the other issues of joint and muscle pain all over my body that I have been complaining about.
I was put on Ultram ER for he joint and muscle pain. I am impressed with what it does help with. I am sadden that it does not take care of the migraines.
I now am on Axert for the migraines as well as the Ultam ER. I also take Flexseed and Omega 3. I still have migraines that make me want to die.
I have had every blood test known to man kind and nothing. My SED level is 36. My cholesterol is high at 305 and all I eat is natural foods. My oxigine level is 95 and my blood pressure is 128 over 69. there is nothing adnormal but the Cholesterol. My neck and shoulders and upper back look like a football player. Did I mention, I am a woman. My test for Cushions, Lupus, Lyme all normal. I am pain all the time and migraines every week now. I can hardly watch TV or drive do to the light sinsitivity. I was told that my muscles in my legs are tight too. I have sciatic pain as well. The pulsing in my head make me feel like my vain is going to explode and sometimes I wish it would.        Colleen
Avatar universal
After my last entry I found that I tested boarder line for Lupus. I want to know whta it means to have all these symtoms that I state above and be testing boarder line? Does this mean I am well on my way to Lupus? I will be more happy to know rather then not know. IF I know then I can have a direction. My level was 80 for Lupus. with the scale having 80 as the highest without being positive.
Avatar universal
Hi I have lupus and chronic migraines. the more headaches I get the worse the lupus gets very tired not able to think clearly.The pain is in back of my head like a gripping cap it hurts my neck and sholders alot ..I walk around like freak laying my head to each side and stretching my neckand rolling my back while people are talking to me ..I take so many meds for migraines I had a brain scan they said brain shows the activity of a migraine suffer,over active on bottom rightI think the worse the lupus gets the worst the heacahe and pain gets almost as these migraines are slowly damaging my brain stem/They are trying me on lyrica nowhoping it slows down the brain in firing the pain center ..I do physical therapy to help with neck as its getting weak but my pain is in my brain i think almost like one day it will be the headache that doesnt came back to normal. Ive all but given hope so many doctors so little minds that understand  that lupus and migraines go together on many people as does rhuemtiod and headaches and sleeping pain
Avatar universal
To caroljd39 My doctor also sugested I take Lyrica. I have not tried it yet. One because of the money and two I am worried that I will have to take it daily and it seems you have to taper off to get off of it, which tells me it is a blood thinner or Steriod which my Doctor tells me it is niether. So how is Lyrica working or not working for you? What level would you say it is working for you? What side effects have you had from it? I was also given another prescription for the migrains but it cost over 200 for just 10 pills so I never got past the sample. Have you found anything that works for the Migrains and lets you still function. I like the Ultram ER it is not a nerve spinal blocker like Lyrica but it does take the edge off of the spasms. It does not help with the migrains though. I have noticed it seems sto help with what I think are siezers. No one seem to want to address that with me, WHY? I often think I need a brain scan and think I may have had a stroke but I too have a DR that does not treat me for the symptoms I have told her about. Thank God I have a Rheumatologist that I feel is helping me, but even he is not going into the direction of a brain scan. How is your Cholesterol level? I dont understand the relation with Cholesterol and Lupus if any. Mine is 305 and all I eat is mostly natural foods. I have eaten more cherry's this summer then I have my whole life. Cherry's are suppose to help lower Cholesterol. There are many foods that do help but it seems that the harder I try and worse it gets.

Have a Great Labor Day Weekend!
Avatar universal
I am not a doctor, but have you thought about TMJ related pain?  TMJ derangement can cause headache, and neck and shoulder pain as I have found out having suffered with this.  All you need is a referral to a maxillofacial specialist, or a sympathetic dentist.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
I have your exact symptoms.  Many years ago I did herniate disks in my cervical and thorasic spine, so these things could be causing the pain but recently a doctor said he suspected I may have lupus to.  I cannot get into the rheumatologist until late Nov. for further evaluation.  I have been so bad, that I must get help to lift my head upright after laying down and I must sleep sitting up in a neck brace sometimes. Skelaxin seems to help a very little bit, I don't know of any other relief at all and I cry with the pain so much, my family think I just want sympathy! I am sick of that to. Try to hang in there.  Patty
Avatar universal
Hi Mike,
I read your reply in high interest. I to have extreme soreness in my forearms, tricep area, underarm and also through my shoulders and traps. I am a postgrad student so spent a lot of time typing on the computer. Now I can only spend 2 min typing/using a mouse before my arms get sore. I stretch every day, but feel like im stretching a nerve more so than a muscle.
it seems that i cant keep my arms still or else i get cramps.
I was wondering if you are able to provide me with information on exercises. I have gone to numerous doctors who have said they are not sure what the problem is.
Any help would be greatly appreciated
email - t.***@****
Avatar universal
I have been doing alot of research on brain disorders you might want to look into Chiari Malformation.  I am not an MD, I kindof wish I was then maybe I could find some relief of my sever headaaches (back of Head) neck and back pain.

Hope this will help.

Avatar universal
I have suffered from migraines since 1992.Since I had my thyroid removed in Aug.2005 sometimes they've been worse.My health history is huge but I will say that I take Imitrex,and for really bad ones Fiornal with Codeine.Recently  I've started Reflexology and Accupuncture.I've started feeling a HUGE improvement especially with the accu.I also see a chiropractor and that is also an immense help because of my job,I'm on my feet all day(cashier) my upper back and neck hurt.Also I can sleep wrong and my neck goes out.Since I don't want to rely so much on Rx,I started these  alternative methods.My chiropractor also recommended a TENS Unit.Google it because it will easier than me trying to explain it.This also helps.Recently I stopped taking Nexium for my GERD/hietal hernia problems and started taking Prilosec OTC.I've had 2 migraines since I've been off of it whereas they use to be daily to every other  day.I do know one side effect of Nexium is headaches.I think for MYSELF all of the things I've been trying have helped but it was after the fourth treatment of accu that I felt an immense difference.I haven't even had a regular headache in more than 3 weeks and let me tell you,that it amazing for me.My pharmacist also said she had migraines with the Nexium and doesn't with the Prilosec OTC.I had the migraines long before I was on Nexium but maybe the meds were not helping.My family and the people at work have noticed a huge difference in my personality and overall mood.I wouldn't say I was a b***h,people with pain know how what I mean.When you don't hurt,you're happier.Since I've started the accu also,my upper back pain has virtually disappeared.I would wake up from the pain every morning and have to get out of bed to relieve it even tho I was still tired.The pain doesn't wake me up anymore.The last two migraines I did have were just centered in my head and not my neck or back and I have to rely on the Imitrex or Fiornal w/codeine.My doc is very,very careful of my intake of the codeine product and limits my Rx with regular checkups.I hope some of this info helps.I do include my email in my profile if someone wants to email me.REMEMBER THO,I DON'T RECOMMEND ANYTHING JUST SHARE WHAT HAS WORKED FOR ME.ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR OWN DOCTOR.
Avatar universal
A related discussion, headache was started.
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