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Headaches From Neck Pain

Here Is Everything You Need To Know About Headaches From Neck Pain. What Causes It, And The Best Way To Treat It. 

What are headaches from neck pain?

Headaches, like back pain, are one of the most frequent of physical complaints and may be one of the most frustrating to control. Pain of any kind that happens in any region of the head is called a headache. Tension-type headaches (also known as muscle-spasm headaches) are the most frequent kinds of headaches in adults. They may be the result of a neck or neck problem, bad posture, fatigue, or stress.A difficulty in the neck, head, or jaw–such as an injury or arthritis–can lead to tension in the joints at the rear of the mind and also to increased strain on the nerves into the face and head. Poor posture may cause these muscles to become overworked, which can trigger a headache.

Where Does It Hurt?

In most cases of headaches from neck pain, patients report a continuous achy and stiff neck with pain on either both sides or one side of the neck. Each case is different, but usually the neck pain is at the upper and middle neck area. Normally on the side of the neck pain there’s a known headache either in the back of the mind or radiating on a single side of their head beginning in the back, radiating around the same side of their head and to the area of the forehead or behind the eye. This is called cervicogenic headache. Your nervous system is a lot like a tree, with the’base’ of the tree close to your neck and also the’branches’ running through the rest of your physique. Due to this, it’s possible to feel the effects of a pinched nerve or aggravation in other parts of the body apart from your own neck. By way of instance, upper trap pain can also cause a headache. Understanding the origin of your pain is essential to treating your pain at the future and will reduce your dependence on painkillers or treatment that only addresses the symptoms.

Tension-type headache

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A tension-type headache typically begins at the back of the head and spreads to the top of the head and the eyes. You might feel an increase in facial pain along the cheeks near the jaw bone (temporomandibular joint dysfunction). People often describe a tightness, a sensation of someone tugging on their hair, or a feeling of wearing a tight cap. These headaches can worsen with specific positions–such as sitting at a desk–and may ease with rest.

How Does It Feel?

  • Aching
  • Throbbing
  • Tense
  • Spasm
  • Tightness


What are symptoms of headaches from neck pain?

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Signs and Symptoms​

  • Pain radiating from the neck into the back of the head
  • Pain radiating from the base of the skull over the ear
  • Pain is mostly on one side of the head
  • Pain in the base of the skull
  • Tightness or pain in the jaw
  • Pain behind the eye
  • Inability to bend or rotate your neck
  • Difficulty looking up, down or over your shoulder
  • Weakness in your arm or shoulder muscles
  • Muscle spasms and pain around the neck and shoulder
  • Pain in the neck, upper back, shoulders, arms, or hands
  • Inability to maintain upright posture
  • Stiffness in the neck and shoulders


  • Cervicogenic headaches (headaches from the neck) are very common and have the following characteristics:
    • Pain is localized in the neck and occiput, which can spread to other areas in the head, usually on one side
    • Pain is aggravated by specific neck movements or sustained postures
    • Limited neck range of motion
    • Changes in neck muscle tone or response to active/passive stretching and contraction
    • Abnormal tenderness of the neck muscles
  • Tension Type headaches are also very common and have the following characteristics:
    • Last from 30 minutes to 7 days
    • Often are both sides of the head
    • Pressing and tightening sensation (Not pulsating)
    • Mild to moderate intensity
    • Not worsened with physical activity
    • Often worse with stress
  • We conduct a thorough examination including the head, jaw, face, neck, and arms. We determine the root cause of your symptoms to ensure that physical therapy treatment is the best option for you.
  • We examine posture, range of motion, strength, reflexes, sensation, soft tissue mobility, joint mobility, nerve mobility, and functional movements to create a custom treatment plan. We also take into account any imaging that you have had like X-Rays, MRI, CT scans, etc.


Can Physical Therapy Help?

  • Yes!!! Physical therapy can help
  • Good news!!! Recent research has actually shown that physical therapy is a better option than surgery, pain medication and injections. We can help you avoid unnecessary invasive procedures and tests that cost a fortune with limited effectiveness. In fact, neck manipulation and soft tissue work combined with postural education and specific exercise can be very helpful for headaches.
  • More good news!!! If you have Cervicogenic Headaches or Tension-Type Headaches, we can definitely help. We utilize hands-on soft-tissue techniques, spinal manipulation, spinal mobilization, postural education, and stress management techniques.
  • In addition to hands-on treatment, we focus on strategies to improve stress. Increased stress can lead to increased tension in the head, neck, face, and jaw which can all affect headache symptoms. We instruct you on specific breathing, meditation, and other specialized techniques to help decrease muscle tension in the head and neck region.

Here's what our patients have to say!

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Physical Therapy Treatment

  • We follow a 5-step approach:
    • Recover – reduce your pain
    • Restore – regain normal movement and eliminate pain
    • Revitalize – get your life back
    • Thrive – optimize your life and body
    • B Your Best – flourish and live fully pain-free
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