Women had 3 fold greater association with Migraines if they had this positive test

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Migraine is a primary headache disorder and is considered the second most important cause of disability in the world. It can be challenging to treat as there are many options available, including medication, dietary changes, ear piercing, chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture and vestibular rehabilitation.

The presence of neck pain is an important factor related to moderate-to-severe migraine phenotypes. Research has explored this concept and shows a close relationship of the musculoskeletal (cervical spine) impact between neck pain and migraine. I would say that majority (not all) of migraine sufferers have some type of cervical (neck) impairment and it can be important to identify the characteristics of neck dysfunction in these individuals.

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We find women are more likely to exhibit cervical impairment if they suffer from migraines. These impairments can be reduced range of motion, strength and endurance deficits of the cervical musculature. You can read more about what we have written here and here.

We also find women are more likely to exhibit cervical joint hypomobility. Cervical joint hypomobility basically means there is stiffness or lack of motion in one or more levels of the spine. It normally correlates with the reduced strength and endurance of the deep muscles in the neck as we described above.

The flexion rotation test is commonly used to assess hypomobility of the cervical spine. Specifically, it is used to identify rotational impairment of the C1/C2 segment. This test was recently found to have a 3 fold greater association with the risk of a positive test than headache-free individuals by Oliveria-Souza et al in 2019. Here is a video of me performing this test several years ago:

Women with migraines demonstrate a greater prevalence of positive finding from the Flexion-Rotation Test (as shown in video above) and the frequency of migraine attacks seemed to be associated with decreased and/or more painful C1-C2 mobility.

If you are suffering from migraines and are looking to have this test performed to determine if you have a cervical spine impairment, contact us for an evaluation.