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Old 03-01-2011, 06:06 PM   #6
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Re: Can cervical issues cause headaches

A lot of us "cervical" people hang out on the Spinal Cord Disorders board and I can tell you that headaches are almost universal with neck problems. If it isn't the nerves being irritated or the cord being pressed on or the spinal fluid getting blocked from flowing freely or the simple inflammation of arthritis, then it's all of the above doing a number on our heads.

I am good at interpreting MRI results and you have a messed up neck but nothing that a surgeon will touch. They wait until those "minimals" and "milds" turn to "moderates" and usually, the "severe" level. Once you hit severe, you know it's time.

But arthritis of various joints on the vertebrae is a pain. PT helps, I found, especially if you can find a physical therapist who specializes in spine care. Learn how to stretch the muscles of the neck by yourself for good relief at home. And heat helps but sometimes ice. I use muscle relaxers at bedtime if it's been a bad day. And find a great that works for YOU not one advertised to work for you. May take some tries and cost a little but after spending lots so of money on advertised pillows, I bought a cheap "side sleeper" pillow and it's been great. Brought my chronic pain way down. I sleep mostly on my side so why by a pillow for a back sleeper? Duh! So figure out how you like to sleep the most(position wise) and get a neck pillow made for that position.

And then find a really good spine doc to help you along the way until you are ready for surgery. Then go see the best spine surgeon(ortho or neuro) you can at a major medical center, preferably one with a medical school so you know they teach and are up on the latest surgeries. From all the people I've talked to, there is one thing I can confidently say...that the results of your surgery are directly related to the expertise of your surgeon. The better they are, the better you will be. Find the best. It may be the difference between a lifetime of pain or being like me...I take a Tylenol now and then and that's it for pain. I dislocated 5 vertebrae and broke 3.

In the meantime, lie down if you can when your head hurts. It helps to equalize the spinal fluid in the back and head and that may relieve the pain.

good luck............Jenny(fused C3 to T1)

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