Migraine and Upper Back Tingling: How Patients Cope

Migraine and Upper Back Tingling: How Patients Cope


Migraine attacks are debilitating headaches that are often accompanied by various symptoms. These symptoms can include intense headache pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and aura. However, some migraine sufferers also experience an additional symptom known as upper back tingling. In this article, we will explore the link between migraine attacks and upper back tingling and provide helpful coping strategies for patients facing this challenge.

Understanding the Causes of Upper Back Tingling with Migraines

Migraines involve the nervous system, particularly the trigeminal nerve, which transmits pain signals. The same nerve can also cause sensations in the upper back due to its branches connecting to the muscles in that area. Irritation and inflammation of these nerves can lead to tingling sensations.

Patients’ Experiences with Upper Back Tingling during Migraines

Many migraine sufferers have shared their personal experiences with upper back tingling during attacks. They describe the tingling sensation in the upper back as uncomfortable and disruptive. It can range in intensity from a mild tingling feeling to a more severe pins and needles sensation. This symptom can significantly impact their quality of life and daily activities, adding frustration to the already challenging experience of having migraine attacks.

For example, Sarah, a migraine patient, recounts her experience with upper back tingling during migraine attacks:

“During my migraine attacks, I would often experience tingling in my upper back. It felt like tingling electrical currents running down my spine and spreading across my shoulder blades. The sensation was unpleasant and made it difficult to concentrate on anything else. It would last for hours or even days, adding an extra layer of discomfort to the already painful headache.”

Coping Strategies for Dealing with Upper Back Tingling during Migraines

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing upper back tingling during migraine attacks, there are several coping strategies that individuals can try:

1. Keeping a Migraine Diary

Keeping a migraine diary can help track the frequency and severity of migraine attacks, as well as the occurrence of upper back tingling episodes. This information can be valuable when discussing the symptoms with healthcare providers and may assist in identifying triggers or patterns that contribute to migraine attacks with upper back tingling.

For example, the diary may include:

  • Date and time of each migraine attack
  • Duration of each attack
  • Intensity of upper back tingling
  • Potential triggers (e.g., stress, certain foods)

2. Notifying Healthcare Providers about Upper Back Tingling

It is crucial to inform healthcare providers about upper back tingling during migraine attacks. During doctor’s visits, patients should discuss this prominent symptom and provide specific details about the tingling sensations. This information can aid in diagnosis and treatment planning.

3. Experimenting with Migraine Treatments

Patients can work with their healthcare providers to explore different migraine treatments. This may involve differentiating between preventive and acute medications, monitoring the effectiveness and side effects of each treatment option, and adjusting the treatment plan accordingly. Some medications may specifically target nerve pain and help alleviate upper back tingling.

For example, preventive medications that are commonly prescribed for migraine attacks include:

  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Beta-blockers

These medications can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks, including upper back tingling episodes.

4. Exploring Alternative Therapies for Symptom Relief

In addition to traditional medications, individuals can explore alternative therapies to manage upper back tingling during migraine attacks. Physical therapy and targeted exercises can help strengthen the upper back muscles and reduce tension. Stress reduction techniques, such as meditation and relaxation exercises, can also provide relief and potentially minimize the occurrence of upper back tingling.

For example, some alternative therapies that may be beneficial include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage therapy

These therapies can help alleviate muscle tension and promote overall relaxation, potentially reducing upper back tingling during migraine attacks.

Seeking Professional Help for Upper Back Tingling during Migraines

If upper back tingling during migraine attacks becomes chronic or significantly impacts daily life, it is essential to consult with a headache specialist or healthcare provider specializing in migraine attacks. These professionals can provide a comprehensive evaluation and discuss treatment options tailored to address both the migraine attacks and the upper back tingling. Diagnostic tests, including neurological examinations, imaging tests (such as MRI or CT scan), and nerve conduction studies, may be conducted to determine the underlying cause of the upper back tingling.


Upper back tingling during migraine attacks can be a distressing symptom. However, with proper coping strategies and professional guidance, patients can effectively manage this challenge. By keeping a migraine diary, actively communicating with healthcare providers, exploring various treatment options, and utilizing alternative therapies, individuals can improve their ability to cope with upper back tingling during migraine attacks and ultimately enhance their overall quality of life.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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