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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 377--384

Clinical characterization of neck pain in migraine

Department of Neurology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sunil Pradhan
Department of Neurology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Raebareli Road, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.227302

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Introduction: Several extracranial symptoms, including somatic pain syndormes, are known to occur in migraine. Though neck pain has been occasionally described with migraine, its precise association and nature is not yet clear. Objective: To study the incidence and characteristics of neck pain in migraine with particular emphasis on its occurrence as a trigger or a part of the symptom complex of migraine, as well as its association with different phases of the migraine attack. Materials and Methods: We interviewed 391 migraine patients for 18 months. All patients who reported neck pain anytime during the migraine phase were analyzed for their demographic profile, headache and neck pain characteristics, the associated conditions, and other clinical features. Results: One hundred and sixty-six (42.5%) patients reported neck pain anytime during the attack (61.5% were female patients and the mean age was 35.8 years). A total of 82.7% patients had migraine without aura and 75.3% had episodic migraine at the onset. In 53 patients (32%), neck pain was a trigger, and in the rest (n = 113, 68%), neck pain was a part of migraine symtomatology. Fifty-seven patients (34.3%) noticed neck pain before the onset of headache; 148 patients (89.2%) reported neck pain at the onset of headache, and 46 patients (27.7%) experienced neck pain after the resolution of headache. The characteristic feature of migraine, such as the unilateral side shifting type of headache, was seen in only 54.2% of the patients, and the throbbing pain quality was seen in 75.2% of the patients. There was no significant difference in the nonheadache symptoms (P = 0.587) and cranial autonomic symptoms (P = 0.596) between the neck pain triggered migraine patients and those having neck pain as a part of the attack. Conclusion: These data indicate that neck pain is a very common feature of migraine attacks and is likely to be either a trigger or a part of the migraine attack. Contrary to the established concept, however, neck pain as a prodromal or postdromal migraine symptom was less common. Careful history taking is required to diagnose neck pain as a feature of migraine and to differentiate it from secondary headache due to a cervical pathology for avoiding unnecessary imaging or other investigations.


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Online since 20th March '04
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