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04/30/2007 10:17 AM

pressure points in neck and upper back

elisemarcel
elisemarcelPosts: 26
New Member

Hey guys,

I read a study over the weekend which noted that many NDPH sufferers have neck pain and/or sensitivity. This would make sense, given constant head pain, and is consistent with my experience.

My question is this: do any of y'all have pressure points in the neck, shoulder, or upper back areas (or anywhere else, for that matter), that when pressure is applied, the pain/tension/ache in your head is RELIEVED (and not triggered)? My doctors and massage therapists have seemed to be perplexed by this - why these points are not trigger points for pain, but points that refer pain relief to my head.

My question might seem totally random, but I wondered if this was unusual or specific to NDPH since the professionals didn't expect these kinds of referral patterns.

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04/30/2007 10:52 AM
kate_cakes
kate_cakesPosts: 7
New Member

I was wondering about the relation of the neck to ndph as well. I do have occasional neck pain, though I am not sure if I have pressure points that relieve pain. I am curious what others experience though. I read an abstract a few weeks ago from Oct 2006 by Rozen which says that,

The objective of this study was to suggest that joint hypermobility (specifically of the cervical spine) is a predisposing factor for the development of new daily persistent headache (NDPH). Twelve individuals (10 female, 2 male) with primary NDPH were evaluated by one of two physical therapists. Each patient was tested for active cervical range of motion and for the presence of excessive intersegmental vertebral motion in the cervical spine. All patients were screened utilizing the Beighton score, which determines degree of systemic hypermobility. Eleven of the 12 NDPH patients were found to have cervical spine joint hypermobility. Ten of the 12 NDPH patients had evidence of widespread joint hypermobility with the Beighton score. Based on our findings we suggest that joint hypermobility, specifically of the cervical spine, may be a predisposing factor for the development of NDPH.

So it seems possible the neck is involved. I'm not sure how to interpret this however. Could the headaches have caused the 'joint hypermobility' or is it the other way around? That's really interesting that your pain is relieved through your neck. I'd really like to know if anyone has experienced the same as well.

Also, have you, or anyone else, tried cervical facet blocks? I remember reading about them in an earlier article, though I don't really know if they are still thought to help ndph.


04/30/2007 01:49 PM
elisemarcel
elisemarcelPosts: 26
New Member

I have never heard of cervical facet blocks. I'll definitely look it up, though. Thanks!

Also, my neurologist has always been surprised by what she calls my 'hyperextendability'. My neck, wrist, and finger joints are probably the most hyperextendable, and I've always been very flexible in general (even more so now because I do a lot of yoga since my headache started - or it could just be the NDPH!). I agree with you that the interpretation of this study merits some caution - I can't remember if my neck was this 'floppy' before the headaches, or if the headaches somehow affected my range of motion.

As for you not being sure if you have pressure points that relieve the pain, I just spent a lot of time poking around. Smile There are points in my occipital area, the muscles in the front of my neck, and where my shoulders meet my neck that when I apply direct pressure (usually poking it with one or two fingers), it feels as if a massive amount of pressure is being lifted off my head. I think this is why massage therapy has been so helpful in managing my pain - by relieving some of the tension in my neck and shoulders, this also relieve some of the tension in my head.


04/30/2007 02:16 PM
mititica
mititicaPosts: 18
New Member

elisemarcel wrote:

As for you not being sure if you have pressure points that relieve the pain, I just spent a lot of time poking around. Smile There are points in my occipital area, the muscles in the front of my neck, and where my shoulders meet my neck that when I apply direct pressure (usually poking it with one or two fingers), it feels as if a massive amount of pressure is being lifted off my head. I think this is why massage therapy has been so helpful in managing my pain - by relieving some of the tension in my neck and shoulders, this also relieve some of the tension in my head.

That is not new or surprising to me. One of my psychology teachers (I don't know how relevant that is, but this is what he was...),one time, when I had a bad headache, just took my head in his hands and pressed powerfully (extremely powerfully) exactly on the zone you mentioned for about 30 seconds, maybe more. I felt an instant pressure and headache relief (paradoxically, one may say). However, this is a known technique of acupressure (Shiatsu). He also suggested using two tennis balls to place on the two "hollows" at the back of the skull (don't know how to describe them, really, but I think you know what I mean), while lying on a hard surface (preferably a floor), so that the weight of your head helps pressing those acupressure spots.

Your empirical and incidental finding is a known and used technique. I'm glad it helps you. You may want to consult a Shiatsu specialist, as there are other spots that you can stimulate in order to get some relief (even your big toe is one, since shiatsu works with the projection of your whole body on your soles and palms). If it's not too "vodoo"-ish for you, it may bring nice results, since you're already susceptible to pain relief through massage and acupressure.

All the best, and let us know.


04/30/2007 02:28 PM
andwoo
Posts: 101
Member

I've read the same abstract that kate-cakes mentioned, and I've tried the test for hypermobility, but some of the drawings for it aren't exactly instructive. But, despite that, it appears I am hypermobile. Again, what that means regarding NDPH, who knows? Cervical facet blocks work, if they work, anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, from what my neurologist told me. I didn't see it as worthwhile to try, since I just want my headaches gone completely, or I'll just have to learn to live with them.

Here's the link where I tried the test to see if I was hypermobile, I couldn't tell re: my knee or elbow just by looking at it, but my thumbs definitely were and my one pinky was. Before I stopped exercising due to NDPH, I was always more flexible in my upper back, seemed to just bend a lot right in the middle, even though my lower back would be incredibly tight, so I assume that's kinda like the first pic, still that way now, just can't touch the floor since I'm tighter in the hamstrings:

http://www.hypermobility.org/beighton.php


04/30/2007 04:42 PM
tdeannie
tdeannie  
Posts: 37
New Member

I tried massage 1 time a week for almost 3 months and although I found temporary relief from it (who doesn't?) I can't say it helped my HA or pain level. It certainly did empty my bank acct. though!! I do agree with the acupressure points though. If my HA gets up to an 8 or so, I press on the "hollow areas" at the base of the skull and find it does help ease the pain but it does not seem to work as well if I am at a 4 or 5.

I don't have hypermobility but I definately have problems with chronic neck and back pain. In my neck, I have multi-level bulging disks, stenosis, degenerative disk disease and arthritis. It was not until my early 30s that I started having severe neck and shoulder pain and was diagnosed. Due to scar tissue, my chiropractor determined I have had arthritis in my neck since I was a teenager(at least).

I have been convinced since I got NDPH that my neck was the culprit, but when I started chatting with all of you I saw that none of you have neck/back problems like me. I have noticed though that you are all a lot younger than me (I am 38). Perhaps you do have the start of neck problems like I did when I was in my teenage years/20s and just don't know it yet because you don't experience any pain. I know most of you have had MRIs on your head but did they check your neck too?


05/02/2007 03:25 PM
elisemarcel
elisemarcelPosts: 26
New Member

I have had an MRI on both my head and neck, and it showed nothing. I also did an EEG (EMG??) test - the really painful one where they poke you with little electric shocks! I really can't remember the details of the test, but mine was specifically done to see if I had a cervical radiculopathy, which I think is when parts of the cervical spine are not aligned correctly. Since my doctor wanted to test my neck, she tested my nerves from my fingers all the way up to my neck. The test showed that there was a possibility that my C-6 and C-7 were misaligned...but the doctor wasn't quite sure. And she said that even if that were the case, she didn't think that's what was causing my headaches. But who knows!

And I know what you mean about massage emptying your bank account! I started out with once-a-week treatments, but now only go once every two months or so. I found that going more often didn't really help that much more.

Thank you, mititica, for mentioning the shiatsu. I will definitely look into it.


05/29/2007 10:31 PM
mititica
mititicaPosts: 18
New Member

Sorry I haven't seen this sooner, Elisemarcel, although I followed the forums closely.

Glad to help, even the least, glad to hear you'll be looking into it, maybe you can find some degree of relief.

Any news?


05/30/2007 03:39 PM
elisemarcel
elisemarcelPosts: 26
New Member

Oh - no problem! THanks for checking in. I have no news on the shiatsu - I've been a little low on funds and very busy for the last month or so, both of which I can blame on school. Smile But I'm hoping that this summer, when I have a little more time, I'll be able to look into it.

I'll be sure to let you know when (or if) I am able to find someone with such a specialty. In the meantime, I've been wanting to invest in some of those therapy balls -like the ones you mentioned that can be used for acupressure. I knew someone with chronic shoulder and back pain who absolutely loved those things.

Thank you!

Elise

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