headaches from neck pain

Elaine Member Posts: 3
edited 28. Sep 2017, 10:25 in Living with Arthritis archive
hello everyone, my name is Elaine and this is the first time I have used any forum.

I am writing to see if there are any suggestions to help my mum. we are at our wits end to be honest. Mum has arthritis in her neck. she was referred to physio .. and also tried acupuncture but this was no help ..she was referred to the pain clinic and had two injections into her head and the morning after her hearing was affected and never improved...the pain is severe and wakes her up at night so there is little sleep and the pain is there through the day .. she is exhausted.. she is taking pregablin at night ( low dose) which seemed to work for a couple of days but they had the effect of keeping her awake and making her dizzy.. so she has stopped taking them ....we have GP appointment on Friday but in the meantime any suggestions or advice would be very welcome.. thank you


  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 4,088
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Elaine and welcome to the forums on behalf of the moderation team.

    I am so sorry to hear about your poor Mum’s arthritis in her neck, but am glad you have found this forum.

    We have a great community here, who have lots of experience of arthritis, I know they will make you very welcome and help in any way they can.

    I am attaching Arthritis Research UK’s information on neck pain which is very detailed and might give you some tips:


    This is a link to Arthritis-care’s fact-sheet about osteoarthritis of the neck:


    My other suggestion would be for you to accompany your Mum to the GP on Friday for support as well as to be an extra pair of ears.

    You have done well posting for the first time on a public forum Elaine :) Please do let us know how your Mum gets on.

    Best wishes,

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,333
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello and welcome, Elaine. I'm so sorry to hear that your Mum is in so much pain and that the injections impacted on her hearing. I've not heard of that happening before. It must be very distressing. Can the GP suggest anything that might help? Perhaps a hearing specialist? (I think they're called audiologists.

    I, too have arthritis in my neck and can't move it much these days. I do exercises to maintain the movement I have. Sometimes exercises are provided not so much to make things better but to stop them getting worse. The exercises keep the muscles strong and strong muscles mean better-supported joints and so less pain. Is your Mum still dong hers?

    Unfortunately, there's no such thing as 'no pain' though and, for most of us, it's a matter of finding what level we can tolerate. Sleep is important. A good night's sleep makes the following day more tolerable no matter how bad it is. I've never taken pregabalin, though many on here have and do, but I don't quite understand how it keeps her awake. I think that's one to ask the doc about. There are other pain relievers which might suit her better.

    Perhaps the GP could refer your Mum to a Pain Clinic. They have helped a lot of people. When my neck's bad I use a surgical neck support given to me by orthotics. They can be very helpful when used briefly but the emphasis is on 'briefly'. Overuse will lead to those muscles sagging again and so more pain.

    You could ask the GP about both these things and also about her hearing. An x-ray might help if she's not already had one.

    Please let us know how you get on.

    P.S. We often underestimate the basics. I now have a shaped memory-foam pillow which goes everywhere with me. They don't work for everyone but a good, supportive pillow and mattress are essential for arthritis. Alas, they can be expensive and the only way of knowing is to try but they make a world of difference to me.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,886
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Elaine

    I am sorry your Mum is suffering so much. Necks are VILE when they kick off. I also have cervical spondylosis.

    When mine kicked off in the past I have lost sensation in the skin on my chest which is quite scary and been forced to sleep on nothing other than a rolled up hand towel in the neck.

    I have since then bought several memory foam pillows with a dent in them for your head. This keeps my spine aligned as it should be. I got my last one from Dunhelm if that helps.

    I religiously take my pain-killers to start with and anti-inflammatories. Use heat (a warmed wheatbag) and rest. As soon as possible after the bout of pain I start gentle range of movement exercises.

    Heads are a really thing to have balanced on something as flimsy as a neck in my opinion.

    Best of luck for Friday

    Toni xx

    Toni xxx
  • Elaine
    Elaine Member Posts: 3
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    My thanks to everyone for taking the trouble to reply - I appreciate your suggestions and I am going to the doctor with Mum to see what can be done - she is feeling a little better today as she has had a few hours sleep but the pain is still there - I guess it will always be a part of her life now but it is knowing how best to manage it to give her some quality of life.

    very many thanks once again
  • TrishaW
    TrishaW Member Posts: 121
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Elaine,
    I also have long term cervical spondylosis and pain, but generally keep it under control. My tips are....
    1. I keep my head in a 'neutral' position as much as possible. This means lying down to watch tv, which is directly infront and in line with my eyes...never looking 'up' or to the side
    2. A good soft memory foam pillow with a dent for my head, which I take everywhere with me...mine was £65 but it's my most precious object!
    3. Heat wraps or cold wraps...both can help, depending on current symptoms. Often heat around my neck and cold on my scalp
    4. Good quality osteopathic massage...never manipulation....but skilled massage on the muscles in the upper back etc that go into spasm and send pressure up over your scalp and cause headaches. An expensive treatment (£50) but when I'm desperate well worth it in reducing associated pain and muscle spasm.
    5. Lightweight coats and no thick heavy collars or scarves that put pressure on the neck. Maybe a lightweight silk type scarf to stop drafts when it's cold
    6 A lightweight cross body bag...not a shoulder bag

    Just a few tips and I hope they may help

    All the best

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,333
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Some excellent tips from TrishaW. With OA there is quite a lot we can do for ourselves and, although it can dominate our lives at times, these little things do make big differences.

    I hope the appointment goes well.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • dibdab
    dibdab Member Posts: 1,498
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I hope your mums appointment brings her some good help and advice, going without sleep is so very demoralising.

    Like others I find a warmed wheatpack helps with pain , I have a specially shaped one that drapes over the shoulders to stay in place more easily. I also find that my soft collar from the orthotics department is a big help when my neck pain causes a headache, it just offers some support for the head which is ridiculously heavy in comparison to the neck. I do find that the kind of armchair I sit in can cause pain, a taller backed more upright chair with good support for back and neck is my favourite.

    Deb x