Findings from a new study presented at the 19th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine by the Medical Director, John McFadden, MD, of the Tupelo Pain Clinic, Mississippi stated that patients with severe headache could benefit from an upper-body fibromyalgia examination to determine if the headache is potentially cervicogenic. According to Dr. McFadden many headaches of cervical disc origin are diagnosed as migraines, leading to inappropriate treatment and unnecessary pain. Researchers conducted a study of 40 men and 160 women who were administered the fibromyalgia examination to detect the presence or absence of neck pain that might be causing a headache. Researchers found that out of the group of subjects, whose average age was 44.8 years and 43.9 years for men and women respectively, 11 reported no headache, 37 had mild headache, 57 had moderately severe headache and 94 had severe headache. The fibromyalgia examination determined the presence of pain, which was then followed up an X-ray of the site of pain for those who had headache and neck pain. The X-ray helped determine the disc which was causing the cervicogenic headache.
Dr. McFadden believes that once patients are made to understand the relationship between headache and neck pain, treatment options can be evolved. He concluded that this study prompted physicians to use the simple standard fibromyalgia test to disqualify or identify neck pain as a symptom in the headache patient.