A study suggests that the common headaches that many people suffer from may be caused by inflammation in the neck.
In a study conducted in Germany, researchers had 50 adults ages 20 to 31, about half of whom suffered from tension headaches, undergo MRI scans to find the source of their pain.
Of the 50, 16 had tension-type headaches and 12 had tension-type headaches plus migraine attacks. The remaining 22 people were included in the control group.
Scans found that patients had higher levels of T2 signals in the trapezius muscles, which extend into the back of the neck, shoulders, and neck.
These signals are elevated when certain muscles are activated, for example through inflammation. These high levels were seen on days when patients experienced head and neck pain, that is, on days when the neck muscles were active.
This suggested that inflammation in the neck caused by injury and stress may be linked to tension headaches. Researchers believe this finding could lead to new treatments that target the neck instead of regular medications.
TREATMENTS FOR THE NECK AREA WILL INCREASE
The study’s lead author and radiology assistant at the Technical University of Munich in Germany, Dr. “Our approach provides the first objective evidence of involvement of neck muscles in primary headaches such as neck pain or tension in migraine,” said Nico Sollmann.
The researchers found that on days when participants experienced headaches and neck pain, T2 levels were higher; This shows that the muscles are activated as a result of inflammation. Participants with tension headaches and migraine attacks had the highest T2 levels.
Tension headaches occur when the neck and scalp muscles are tense or contracted. The pain may also be dull or achy and result in tenderness in the neck, scalp, and shoulders.