Are Migraines linked to Neck Movement?

Migraines are a recurring type of headache. They cause moderate to severe pain that is throbbing or pulsing. The pain is often on one side of your head. You may also have other symptoms, such as nausea and weakness. You may be sensitive to light and sound.

Many of us suffer from migraines with the cause being from many reasons!

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One of the aspects of Migraines that can be modified is the strength, flexibility and endurance of neck muscles. Additionally, posture of the neck and head can make a big difference on avoiding and treating Migraines!

A study in 2016 identified a relationship between Migraines and Active Trigger Points and Neck/Head Posture.

The authors found active TrPs are associated with reduced cervical lordosis and head extension in individuals with migraine.

Trigger points are discrete, focal, hyperirritable spots located in a taut band of skeletal muscle. The spots are painful on compression and can produce referred pain, referred tenderness, motor dysfunction, and autonomic phenomena (Simons & Travel 1999).

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The link between Neck/Head Posture and pain has been scrutinized in the last few years and the research is leaning against a strong relationship. With that being said, most of the research is on static (body at rest) posture vs dynamic (body in movement) posture.

Dynamic movements and range of motion of the neck may be linked more than just static posture.

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In the 2016 study by Ferracini et al, the authors found a relationship between the number of active trigger points AND the higher number of active TrPs was positively associated with a reduction in cervical lordosis and head extension of the head on the neck.

Here are pictures with labels of the muscles that the authors examined:

If you are having tenderness or hypersensitivity in the above muscles, in combination of not having proper cervical (head) extension, then this could be a reason why you are having migraines!

It may not be the SOLE reason for Migraines, but what if it was 25-40% of your pain—- wouldn’t you want your intensity or frequency of headache pain to be less?!

Here is a video of myself performing cervical (neck) extension and how much range you should have! Remember that cervical (neck) extension is related to cervical lordosis (curvature of your neck)

Here is a video that you can do to improve cervical lordosis through a common exercise, “Cervical Retraction”. Remember to feel it where you should per our Feel it to Heal it Physio Approach!