Posted by: Lizzy | 2010-04-28

Muscle spasms vs headaches

I broke both my clavicles a few years back and have since been having bad headaches.My shoulder, neck, back and arm muscles cramp regularly and are always tensed. My shoulders go ice cold, arms go lame, my back cramps so that I feel I can''t breathe or want to vomit. Afterwards I get headaches, migranes or totally go off balance. Sometimes I can''t focus my eyes and they feel as though the are looking inward (squinting) over each other, but they are not or I can''t see and it does black around me.This is usually when I get dizzy. This has happened while writing exams a few times, but I am still studying and am scared it will happen again as I am in my last year and it usually takes a while before I can regroup all the info and continue writing. Sometimes my eyes blackout individually, both or midsection where I can''t see above or below the midsection. I have had my eyes tested, it''s not them. I think somewhere a nerve is being pinched or something?
Please can you help me. I am 23

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Lizzy,

One of the most important cause of headaches is muscle tension and muscle spasm, so it is most likely that that is part of your problem. From the symptoms you have described, it is likely that there may be other factors involved, so you need a thorough medical assessment. To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary assessment”, which should include a neurological examination to rule out any serious underlying condition. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, that no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension, and of the external carotid vasculature to determine whether there is an arterial element to the pain.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 911.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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