Shoulder pain linked to migraine... advice needed

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New Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 11/21/2008 3:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all...
Need some advice please. This seems to be the latest symptom for me. I've been on Topamax for a couple of months and it has been working really well and my migraines have reduced substantially. However in recent weeks I've noticed symptoms returning and have had to resort to taking Zigamelt on top of the Topamax. Yesterday I noticed my neck getting stiff and sore (the left side, as per usual). Then the pain travelled down my left shoulder and the pain became very intense. It was migraine related as I was off my food/dizzy etc... and took the Zigamelt. This was one of the worst migraines that I have had since I started Topamax and I had to lie down for five or six hours after work.... which has not happened since I started Topamax. When I woke up, the dizziness was gone, my appetite had improved etc.... in general my other symptoms seemed to have disappeared but my shoulder has remained extremely painful. Today I am in absolute *agony* with my shoulder, which I feel is affecting my head as I can feel the pressure building again. It's red and swollen and sensitive to touch. I have done nothing that could've pulled a muscle.

I've rung my neurologist (I want to get an appointment to discuss the fact that the migraines are returning again anyway) and I've got an appointment for January. I'm probably going to have to go see my GP in the meantime, who will probably try and convince me it's a pulled muscle from a sport that I don't do eyes as he's not exactly sympathetic towards migraine symptoms....

So I have 2 questions....

1. Anyone out there ever have severe shoulder/muscle pain related to your migraine? If so, what has helped?

2. Anyone found this kind of muscle pain related to taking Topamax?

When I rang to make an appointment with my neurologist today, the receptionist said that the medication could have travelled into my muscles? I really don't like the sound of this... she said they would be able to rule this would with a blood test. I really trust my neurologist, but having to wait 2 months to see her is crazy.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/16/2008 2:56 PM (GMT -6)   
wow, you are like my topamax twin!! I am having the same problem! I have the same shoulder pain you are experiencing in my left shoulder. It started about 10 days ago. It hurts to lift it, and I don't recall ever doing anything to that shoulder to injure it. I think I woke up with it one morning. I started topamax 100mg about 4 weeks ago and it has been working very well for my migraines, but this shoulder pain is at times unbearable. I think it is starting up in my right shoulder as well, and I feel like my right hip is also having some issues. I have a neuro appointment on thursday, and i'm going to bring it up with my migraine specialist! I will post again if i have any info!

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 12/16/2008 4:45 PM (GMT -6)   
I'd be really interested in how you get on! Please keep us updated! I don't have a neuro appointment until January... so would be interested to see what you're told!

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/21/2008 12:15 PM (GMT -6)   
hi! sorry it took so long for me to reply. i went to the neuro on thursday and explanied the pain in my left shoulder. I asked is thought it was a side effect of the topamax. he did NOt think so. he felt it was more joint related, and not neurological. after going over my symptoms, ie- worse at night, better during the day-he thought it could be arthritic in nature. Just in the past 2 days the right shoulder has also started to get very painful, and now i'm thinking it could be arthritic as well.

I have done a lot of internet searches on the connection between shoulder pain and topamax as a possible side effect and have found nothing.
at least in my case, i think I will have to get an othapaedic consult!.

good luck!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2386
   Posted 12/30/2008 7:48 AM (GMT -6)   
When i was in a car accident over the summer, I had went to a Chiropractor and a Medical massage person. I had migraines a few times I went. My medical massage doc discovered I had some muscles that were aggravated, tender, inflamed. So inflamed, they pressed against my nerves... after much massage, heat, ice, and some neck adjusts (that from a chiropractor) I felt much butter. Perhaps consult a chiropractor and medical massage doc. I asked a doctor who was a DO (thats a primary medical doc with a chiropractor license) about it once, and he said sometimes if your out of alignment just right or if the nerves are hit just right you can get a migraine. he also said, depending on where the migraine is located in your head can tell you lwhat to look for for triggers. Like forehead is sinus...back of head is stress, etc

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 2/3/2009 10:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Boy, I hate to sound like a one trick pony. I have posted on other threads on this board.. please see them. the upshot it to read a book that I have just finished which I downloaded for free from  read the whole book and the website. It may be able to help you. I hope that it will help me too.

Post Edited By Moderator (tysmyboo) : 3/22/2010 2:30:25 AM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/22/2010 12:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi. I'm seventeen and I get hereditary chronic migraines about two or three times a week. I am not on topomax or any other headache medication, but I get the shoulder pains, too. For me, it's a blunt, throbbing pain that starts about an hour before the actual migraine. In a way they're helpful because they give me time to prepare for the migraine and get things done before it completely immobilizes me. I saw that you also mentioned your neck becoming sore and stiff. That also happens to me. Stress is generally the most common cause of neck pain and migraines. As a college freshman, I am in stressful situations 90 percent of the time. I can't find much on the internet about it, but I do believe there is a connection. The best thing you can do is take some strong pain medication when the shoulder starts hurting and hope it kicks in before the migraine hits.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/23/2013 1:16 PM (GMT -6)   

I have the same problem -- typically it's left side only. The pain is strongest in a spot near my left shoulder blade and radiates down my left back (sometimes with numbness on the top of my skin) and sometimes down my left arm. Occasionally my left arm feels weak. This happens in conjunction with my migraines, and a sore / stiff neck. It can last days after the migraine resolves but will otherwise go away.

It began years ago in a milder form and has been slowly and progressively worsening over time. It was inflamed when I went to the migraine specialist to talk about it, and she pressed on my back and confirmed the inflammation, concluding it was from my migraines. She suggested I ice it, but I have not tried that yet! I have Celiac Disease -- an autoimmune disease -- and have symptoms of other autoimmune diseases, though none have been diagnosed as of yet. The rheumatologist thought that the pain could be caused by a fibromyalgia-like autoimmune pain disorder that affects the upper part of your body (myofacial pain). I also get severe pain in the left side of my face, my left eye, and my teeth.

I do not take Tompamax and am not on any migraine medications yet. But that might change soon!

Some things that have helped with this left-side back and neck pain:

1. Lying on the floor with my feet up on a chair so weight is on my upper back.
2. Yoga (restorative or hatha) and/or stretching.
3. Tylenol (does not solve, but helps with the inflammation).
4. Jamming things into the sorest spot on my back or massaging the spot.
5. Sleeping on my left side.
6. Taking extra magnesium and vitamin B2.

Good luck to you as you try to figure this out! I am fairly certain that this is nerve pain in my case. I don't know if it's caused by the migraines or something else (injury, etc.), but it's clearly worse before, during, and after migraines.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/23/2013 5:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello, new to the the migraine world. On Feb. 19, 2013, I was diagnosed with Hemicrania Continua and it effects the nerves on my heart and lungs. I have it on my right side but can move to the left temple only just briefly. But, always the right eye pressure and jaw is the starting point and then spreads to the shoulder, neck and then "BAM" it stabs me in the right temple. This will cause fainting, nauseousness, tremors, twitching of muscles in the neck and sometimes the body and right leg.

Here are some of the information I gave my neurologist in Scottsdale AZ. By the way which is the BEST NINDS in the US. St. Joseph Hospital of Neurology and Barrow Institute.

Soctoma right eye – intermittent
Exercise induced right eye blurred vision with blood vessels in right eye inflamed and red. Running nose on right side and feels like nasal drip from right eye. After exercise goes away in two to three hours. Did a home Pinhole test with right eye when blurred vision occurred and eye still blurry.
Auditory distortions. Music on radio sounds slurred. Like putting your hand on a record player to slow it down.
Tinnitus. A tunnel fading away.
Weakness on right side (intermittent) from top of head to chest. Neck feels stiff and tight. Arms hands intermittently tingle and feel numb. Not full numbness. All on right side.
Excessive night sweats that are trenching (intermittent). Wakes me up. Intermittent.
2-17.2013 - another scary episode with heart. Heart rhythm had two double arrhythmia intermittent. Left side weakness and tingling. Light headed and overwhelmed with fatigue. Breathing labored. Lasted about an hour or two.

Trigeminal Neuralgia-(Feels like this)
Debilitating Intermittent stabbing pain in right side of head. Left side recently 2-16-13 episode (5-sec.episode) When it occurs I am off balance, nauseous, weak, faint. Extreme episode 02-3-2013 on Sunday evening at work. Lasted three hours. Wanted to go to ER.
Intermittent tremors in neck, shoulder, face on right side. Sometimes left side.
Intermittent extreme cold in right hand and arm.

Basilar Artery Migraines-(Feels like this)
Tight tendon and muscles in neck or range of motion restricted on right side.
Feels like back of neck and lymph nodes swell.
Pain and tender back of neck
Can be debilitating. Due to the intensity of the discomfort I avoid daily activities because fear an impending attack. Dizziness, vertigo, problems with balance, changes in hearing and speech, and mild numbness and tingling.
Excess fatigue

I hope some of this helps because I know what this scary feelings feel like. It took me a year to get the right diagnoses. Some meds that might help is a herbal supplement called Boswellia. Soon has I feel it coming on I take a Boswellia and it makes it more manageable. Also, the doctor prescribed Indomethacin that insistently takes the pain away. But, you have to catch it before it starts. Indosin (for short) can have bad side effects so the doctor also prescribed Omeprazole for stomach discomfort (Equivalent for: Prilosec). I chose to take the Boswellia first because I am a triathlete (trained to ignore pain) and don't want to stress my body out more than I need too. Also, I would like to add that taking Melatonin at night will help you sleep better. I have done extensive research and with the help of a cardiologist, pulmonary, and neurologists I just might get this illness under control.

God Bless and best wishes.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/1/2014 6:22 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm a little in shock right now that I've finally been able to find others who are going through some of the things that I'm experiencing. I've been dealing with this for almost 5 yrs & have seen several doctors - even had my gallbladder out. I've recently seen a dr that wanted me to research Migraine Equivalent & see what I find. He thinks this is what I might have. When I have my next episode I will go in to have some blood drawn for tests. He things it's related to progesterone & my cycle due to how it falls every month.

Here's some of what I deal with (always right side): tightening of right neck/shoulder muscles, 3 "points of entry" where it feels like ice picks are jabbing into my shoulder nonstop, bone on top of shoulder pops up, arm goes numb, fingers tingle & get cold, I get very nauseous & get a very dry mouth. Skin on neck & shoulder are can be hyper sensitive to the touch. I can not lay on my right side or back. This last about 12 hours straight.

The dr put me on Topamax & a steroid pack to see how it impacts me this month. My "episodes" happen 5-6 days after my cycle ends & again 5-6 days after that. (The start of ovulation & peak of ovulation). My next episode is due this week so I'll know soon how this medication does.

Does anyone else experience any of these symptoms?
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