Symptoms & Treatment Related To Headaches And Neck Pain
Headache And Neck Pain Discussion
A headache along with neck pain may be related to muscles which refer pain to the head. We have discussed strain of the neck muscles and detailed how a muscle may radiate pain from the neck to areas of the head. A particular area located in the neck is most often related to headaches.
The muscles illustrated here are related to headache from the jaw line to the side of the head. The “X” marks the area of strain and the red areas indicate pain referred to the head. This area is important because many of the neck muscles involved in a headache connect to the area right above at the base of the skull.
Follow the diagram of the suboccipital muscles to see the relationship between headache and neck pain.
Sometimes when you have a headache, you will feel the sore muscles at the top of the neck
The first thing if you have a headache and neck pain is to make sure you do not have a fever, as this could indicate a more serious problem.
This type of headache neck pain we are talking about may be related to chronic muscular strain of the neck associated with changes in posture of the head and neck, muscle tension and stressful situations at work or home. Movement may create pain from the neck to the corresponding area in the head. Pain ranging from mild to more severe may be associated with this, however there is no throbbing and the pain may change, increasing or decreasing when pressing into the muscle. The headache can vary in duration and may only be a couple of hours to couple of days or even weeks.
This type of headache pain usually responds well to the neck exercises, posture correction methods including ergonomics when sitting and working, stress reduction techniques and direct muscle massage treatment of the area where the muscles attach. Tools used for treating the upper neck muscles effectively are the neck release, headache neck pain release and orthopedic traction headrest, pictured above, which work deep into those specific muscles using the weight of the head and gravity, reducing spasm of neck related headache muscles and for self massage while lying down. They are based on an occipital release method of myofascial therapy.
A 2015 article in Current Pain and Headache Reports indicates trigger points can create nervous system changes are able to reproduce headache patterns of migraine, crevicogenic and tension headaches. The author indicates treating these muscle areas may have positive effects for these headaches.
Types Of Headache Neck Pain
The muscles under the base of the skull can refer pain to the head. Other causes for headache and neck pain may result from irritation to other pain sensitive regions of the neck. A cervical disc problem and/or neck joint irritation can cause pain to radiate, causing a headache. Conditions producing this type of headache may be associated with disc degeneration. As many as 2 out of 10 who suffer from a chronic headache may have neck related headaches and it may be as high as 4 out of 10 in women.
We know there manytypes of headaches, but there are commonly 3 types of headaches that have evidence linking headache and neck pain. There are others, but 3 main headaches; tension, migraine and cervicogenic can be directly related to the neck.
Cervicogenic headaches are directly neck related headaches and get their name from cervico (cervical or neck) and genic (generated), so neck generated headache. Tension headaches are often related to tension of the neck and shoulder muscles. Recently, the journal Postgraduate Medicine did a study, which indicates a direct correlation between a migraine headache and neck pain.
An 2014 study in the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics indicate results from a study showed that neck pain was clearly widespread in patients suffering migraine headache. Disability due to neck pain is related to increased frequency of migraine headache attacks and the likelihood of having chronic migraines.
A 2015 study in Workplace Health & Safety Journal found a neck stretching program was effective in treating headaches for primary headaches suffered by nurses. Stretches were noted to significantly reduce headache intensity.
Headache And Neck Pain Related Symptoms
Lets look at some symptoms that suggest headache neck pain. This is specific for cervicogenic headaches and a good way to determine if this might be the problem related to your headache symptoms that could benefit from neck therapy methods.
Neck Related Headache (Cervicogenic Headache) Must Include At Least 1 Of The 3 Factors Below: The headache comes after:
| Motions of the neck or
Extended periods of awkward head posture
Pain in the base of the skull or top half of the neck on headache side
Restriction of neck motion
Pain in the neck, shoulder or arm
If you have checked all 3 of the above, there is a high probability that the headache is directly related to the neck.
Neck Related Headache Characteristics
Possible neck injury history (sprain/strain, whiplash)
Additional Possible Features
Headache & neck pain may be responsive to specific Chiropractic adjustment, therefore seeking a consult may be advisable.
As we have seen, causes related to a headache and neck pain vary. A doctor should be consulted with in diagnosing the possible causes. A headache may be related to medications, food allergies or may be indicative of a life threatening condition such as meningitis, which typically presents with headache neck pain & fever, therefore, this should be taken seriously.