Saturday, October 25, 2014
Tuesday, September 06, 2011 Valera Snead, Community Member, asks

Q: Does chronic pain cause migraines?

I suffer from chronic back pain due to 4 herniated discs in my lower back. I have just recently started getting excruciating migraines. I am trying figure out my triggers. Is it possilbe that my chronic pain has brought on my migraines?

Answer This
Answers (2)
Nancy Harris Bonk, Community Member
9/14/11 7:09pm

Hi Valera,


Chronic lower back pain, while exhausting and frustrating, really doesn't trigger a Migraine attack, although having said that you never know. Cervical spine issues on the other hand can certainly trigger a Migraine. 


How many days a week do you take something to relieve these headaches? Taking Migraine abortive meds such as the triptans or ergotamines or any kind of pain medication -- prescription or over-the-counter -- more than two or three days a week can make matters worse by causing medication overuse headache (MOH), aka rebound. See Medication Overuse Headache - When the Remedy Backfires for more information on this


Have you ever had Migraines before? You said you just "started getting excruciating migraines" so does this mean they are a new thing for you? Or have they changed in frequency or severity? In either case, it is important to discuss these issues with your doctor.


Trigger identification and management is an important part of Migraine management and preventing Migraines. You may have some triggers that you can avoid, thus preventing Migraines brought on by those triggers. Do you know what any of your triggers are? When working to identify triggers one of the best tools is a good Migraine diary. You can read more about this and download a free diary workbook in our article Your Migraine and Headache Diary.


I hope this helps,




BlitzBryn, Community Member
9/15/11 3:36am

Chronic pain could have an effect on migraine, but it also depends on the chronic pain.  I have chronic pain in the left rhomboid.  The pain from that area generally drives a migraine to begin when the pain in the rhomboid is unbearable.  Although, the migraine may also be started as a result of the tension associated with the pain in both areas, if this makes any sense.


Also, depending on how you initially experienced the herniated discs, could have some relation to your new experience with migraine.  A relative of mine was in an auto accident a few years ago.  Never having anything more than a simple headache, shortly after the accident, the migraines began.  She is now a chronic migraine sufferer like me.  Could the accident have initiated an impact to her system that could have woken up the migraine that may have occured later in life?  Possibly, especially since migraine is in the genetics with our family.


My recommendation to you is to seek a migraine specialist, not a neurologist.  Not all neurologists are fully educated with migraines.  See what the specialist says and good luck.

Answer This

We hope you find this general health information helpful. Please note however, that this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. No information in the Answers above is intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The views expressed in the Answers above belong to the individuals who posted them and do not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media. Remedy Health Media does not review or edit content posted by our community members, but reserves the right to remove any material it deems inappropriate.

By Valera Snead, Community Member— Last Modified: 09/15/11, First Published: 09/06/11