What You Need To Know: Headaches & Spine Surgery

All of us have had one at one time or another, sharp and stabbing, or dull and pounding, headaches are one of the most common sites of pain in the body, shares Dallas-Fort Worth Neurosurgeon Dr. Rebecca Stachniak. Studies show in the United States, more people suffer from headaches than asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. The number of those suffering totals more than 45 million people. Of this figure, 28 million suffer from migraines each year.

Nearly everyone gets a headache at one time or another. Headaches may be occasional, recurrent or chronic. The range of pain often varies from mild to severe enough to disrupt daily activities. There are three types of primary headaches: a tension headache, migraine, and cluster headache. Secondary headaches are caused by an injury, other illnesses or conditions, such as head trauma, infection, and tumors or metabolic disorders. Head pain may be attributed to syndromes involving the eyes, ears, neck, teeth or sinuses. In cases of secondary headaches, the underlying condition must be diagnosed and treated to find relief. It is also possible that certain types of medication may cause headaches as a side effect.

There might be a new choice on the horizon for those who are suffering. A study found that two years after anterior cervical neck operations, patients who had disc replacement or spine fusion surgery had significant improvement in their headaches.

This is not a cure or answer for all those suffering from headaches. But, if you have headaches associated with neck pain and dysfunction, surgery for the neck problem can significantly improve the related headaches. Anytime overall quality of life can be improved with surgical treatment; it is something to consider. Discuss your options for headache pain relief with your board certified practitioner to find the best options for you.

Note: A sudden or severe secondary headache that occurs following a blow to the head, that interferes with normal activity, or that accompanies other symptoms (i.e., disorientation, dizziness, loss of consciousness or pain in the eye or ear, fever) should be evaluated by a physician as soon as possible.

Dr. Rebeccca Stachniak is a board certified Neurological Spine Surgeon and Medical Director of the Brain & Spine Center of Texas. Dr. Stachniak is part of the faculty at Medtronic as a teaching physician, teaching other spine surgeons on techniques in spine surgery. Having authored many papers, posters, and presentations for major Neurosurgical and Spine related conferences, Dr. Stachniak is highly sought after and regarded around the world speaking at international conferences. Named Top10MD in 2016 – an honor only 1-in-3 doctors succeeds with in the United States. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Stachniak, click on her profile or call her office at 972.943.9779.