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Having arthritis can cause all sorts of health issues that vary from sore joints to stiffness. Because of this, many older adults lose their ability to engage in activities they used to enjoy. Many people even tie arthritis to headaches. We are here to answer whether arthritis can really cause headaches.

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is hard to describe in one word. It is a combination of conditions that together cause joint pain or any type of joint disease. Seniors who suffer from this condition often experience stiffness, swelling, and joint pain. Depending on the case, arthritis can have mild symptoms through extended periods of life, and in more severe cases the symptoms worsen over shorter periods of time. But the question remains, can arthritis really cause headaches?

Can Arthritis Really Cause Headaches
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Can Arthritis Really Cause Headaches?

You won’t like the answer. Yes, arthritis can cause headaches. Headaches follow the most common type of arthritis, called osteoarthritis. The pain is not actually inside of your head but in your vertebrae. This happens because the immune system attacks this area of your body.

When your spine gets inflammation, signals go to your brain that shows there’s some type of pain in your neck. Because of this, the flow of blood to your brain gets reduced, and you get headaches as a consequence of the arthritis.

Arthritis Headache Symptoms

Unlike a regular migraine which starts with a pain directly in your head, the headache caused by arthritis will begin with a pain in your neck. The pain then slowly spreads from there to the back of your head until it reaches the top. But the pain will then spread to the side of your head, so at least you won’t have pain in your temple region.

Some of the most notable symptoms that will help you recognize arthritis headaches are an unpleasant sensation in your arms, neck, and scalp. If you feel any of the symptoms mentioned above, you will need to check out your vertebral discs, because it may have degenerated and is now pinching one of your nerves.

In some cases, arthritis headaches get misdiagnosed. Doctors often mistake them for a migraine. Considering the similarity between their symptoms, this is not a surprise. If you have had migraines through your entire life, and in the golden age you start suffering from arthritis, you will need to tell your doctor. You don’t want this mistake to happen.

Treatment for Arthritis Headaches

If you have constant headaches, the best thing to do would be to visit your doctor to determine if they are caused by arthritis. If they are caused by a pinched nerve, then simple physical therapy could be a solution. But if your pain is caused by other issues, arthritis included, then a doctor might prescribe you with medication to ease some of the pain. In the most severe of cases, sometimes it is required to wear a neck brace or even to undergo surgery.

For most people, it would be best if they didn’t have to deal with arthritis. But for those that have issues with headaches, a simple change in diet could help. Older adults that have arthritis should eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, grass-fed beef, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Other recommended foods include those that contain sulfur, collagen, amino acids, antioxidants, and fiber.

You probably already know arthritis can’t be permanently cured, but that’s no reason to live in pain. If you have been diagnosed with this condition and start experiencing headaches, be sure to talk with your doctor. In cooperation with a medic, you should be able to at least lower the level of pain and minimize the influence of arthritis on your life.

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