Tuesday Round-up for Friends

2008 October 7

Two medical related things happened this week.

First, my headache/migraine specialist replied to my letter. I’d written to him asking how I should update my Incapacity Benefit (IB) claim in my new questionnaire. I also updated him on my recent diagnosis of persistent aura (persistent aura without infarction, also known as persistent migraine aura). I’d also mentioned back spasms I’d had many years ago. I wrote to him before seeing my GP (family doctor) about the new lower back problem I’d started getting. So I didn’t include that in my letter.

So the second thing is that I saw my GP about that back pain.

I now think I understand where my specialist is coming from. I couldn’t understand why he was focussing on my neck and shoulder pain and mobility problems. I had been referred because of what my GP had thought were frequent and severe migraine. He replied that he is “one of a minority” who think that neck pain is the source of a wide range of headache problems, including migraine. Even though migraine clearly has a neurological pathway, he believes these are triggered by neck pain. Other opinion in medical science as I wrote about in my Saturday SeriesMigraines” includes the trigeminal nerve as “central to the mechanism”. But they don’t all agree that this is the cause of migraine onset.

He also said that persistent aura “is a well recognised condition” and that “neither the causes nor the remedies for it have been agreed in current medical practice”. But he did say that there is research into persistent aura to try to understand it better. He finished by saying that he thinks my headaches are therefore migraines. So I only need add the neck and shoulder pain and mobility to the new form if I think it adds to my inability to work beyond the migraines.

Which leads me on to my GP appointment. He examined my mobility and pain. It looks like I have, superficially at least, a similar problem in my lower back as my neck and shoulders. The nerve root is causing pain which limits my mobility. That pain then spreads to my general pelvic area and my legs as I stand or walk for any length of time. Sitting or lying down relieves the discomfort. He has prescribed physiotherapy as a first step. I am now waiting for the appointment for that to come through.



  1. Sounds like you might be one of the migraineurs who has a neck problem as a trigger. I bet they didn’t explain to you that the nerves from the neck feed back through the brainstem directly to the area of the brain that is involved with migraine..

    This is somewhat new research from the American Headache Society. You might benefit from nerve blocks, trigger pt injections or even occiptal blocks which is an exciting new treatment in this area.

    Good luck!
    Mary Kay

  2. Hi again, Mary Kay,

    No, the first I knew of this possibility was in that letter from my specialist. I couldn’t get how he could be focussing on neck pain when I presented with migraine! Thanks for the reminder, as I’ve just added this minority view to Part Four of my Saturday Series on migraines.

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