Posted by: Miklos | 2020/04/20


Poor sleeping posture affecting blood flow

Can my sleeping posture and poor neck condition affect blood flow to my brain or nerves triggering headaches? Does my condition have a medical term that would help to understand my situation better? I'm 38 years old male, not drinking, not smoking, have no depression, take no regular medication. I'm working with computers, and sit a lot, it's also a hobby that started at the age of 13. I started having back issues at age of 26 (pain radiated mainly in my legs). My back pain got worse and become more evident over the last couple years. Besides this, I started having neck problems. I randomly got stiff neck for days or 1-2 weeks, neck movement was limited and painful. I started experiencing strange headaches that were usually followed by tingling around my month. I'm sleeping on my side and these headaches usually appeared after I went to bed and was laying in the bed. The pain is located on the top of my head, always at the same spot but either on the left or the right side, mostly depending on which side I'm laying in the bed. The pain hits sharp in the mentioned spot and lasts not even a second. The intensity is sometimes frightening and was followed by tingling around my month at the same side where the pain hit. The tingling often lasts hours or a full day. When the pain strikes hard, I have a feeling of dizziness for a quick second.. it feels strange and I always fear of getting a stroke. Changing posture eases the effects. 7 mounths old lower back MRI indicated significant disc herniation between L4-5. MRI on my head excluded having aneurysm. Neck MRI indicates slight left sided protrusion at C6-7 (C7 root is affected). Very slight protrusion is visible at the upper discs as well. MRIs were taken 7 months ago. The headaches reoccur and usually take 1-2 weeks, and then it happens that I'm free of symptoms for weeks. When they happen, I usually have some level of neck condition, stiffness on the upper area, sometimes with slight burning sensation when pushing the affected area with my fingers. In the last couple of days I have similar happening, but instead of the "lightning strike"-like pain, I feel constant pressure at the same spot on the top of my head during night. After a while the pressure rises to an uncomfortable level, and it eases when I sit up in the bed. Yesterday it happened again, the pressure got more significant, I felt a heavy, short cramping pain in the head and warm started spreading from the area, I jumped up, and was freaked out, as I thought that I'm having a stroke or TIA. My head felt foggy for a a couple minutes and both arms and legs felt weak. No one could give a diagnosis over the years. What is happening with me?

Expert's Reply


Headache expert
- 2020/04/20

Dear Miklos,

First let me reassure you that you are not having a stroke or anything serious. The only way to diagnose the problem though is to do a thorough what is called "multidisciplinary" assessment. 

To get to the root of the problem, it is necessary to undergo an in-depth diagnosis to determine exactly where the pain is coming from. 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. To learn more about the multidisciplinary assessment, please click here


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. For more information on how the muscles can affect headaches, please click here. For more information on the involvement of the arteries in the pain please click here and here

The only problem at the moment though is that The Headache Clinic is closed during the lockdown. After the lockdown if you contact us I am sure we will be able to find the problem and treat it.


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 here


To contact The Headache Clinic call 011 484 0933, or e-mail to

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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