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Can Arthritis Cause Headaches?

If you suffer from arthritis, you know it can cause all sorts of issues, from sore joints to stiffness to making it difficult to walk or partake in your favorite activities. But can arthritis also give you headaches?

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a term to describe about 100 different types of conditions that cause joint pain or some type of joint disease. Those who suffer from one of these conditions tend to experience stiffness, swelling, and pain in their joints. These symptoms can be severe or mild and can remain the same or worsen over the years.

Can Arthritis Cause Headaches?

In fact, it can. This happens most with osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of the condition. The pain is not actually in the head but instead is due to your immune system attacking the vertebrae in your neck.

Inflammation in your spine sends signals to the brain that there is some sort of pain in your neck and this has an affect on the blood supply that goes to your brain. This, in turn, can cause arthritis head pain or arthritis headaches.

So, in reality, your head pain is caused by the arthritis in your neck.

Arthritis Headaches Symptoms

Unlike a normal headache, a neck arthritis headache typically begins with pain in your neck. From there, the pain will move up the back of your head until it reaches the top. In addition, the pain will usually be worse on one side of your head, and you won’t have pain in your temple region.

Arthritis headaches symptoms can also include tingling sensations and weakness in your arms, neck, and scalp. This can suggest a pinched nerve in your neck that is caused by the degeneration of a disk.

For some, your arthritis headaches symptoms may be misdiagnosed as a migraine, as the symptoms are similar. This is especially true if you have suffered from migraines throughout your life.

Treatment for Arthritis Headaches

The first step to treating an arthritis headache is to talk to your doctor to ensure that the pain you are experiencing is actually from your arthritis. If you do have a pinched nerve, it might be possible to have it treated with physical therapy.

If your pain is due to other issues, there are medications that can be prescribed to help. In the worst cases, a neck brace can be used to relieve some of the pain, or surgery may be necessary.

While arthritis can be a complicated condition and there is no cure for it currently, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. If you feel your headaches are due to your arthritis, be sure to talk to your doctor. Together, you should be able to find a way to manage your symptoms and keep your discomfort to a minimum.