Most people would agree that headaches are some of the worst pains you can have. Yet apart from using medications, the only solutions offered are usually a cup of tea and a long lie down. Whether it be the hangover, the “Not tonight dear I’ve got a headache”, or the headache your boss gave you, headaches are a major problem.

There are a number of different types of headaches and a number of different treatments that can be useful in combating this common problem. A common type of headache is one that originates from the neck (cervical spine).

How can the neck cause headaches?

The nerves that supply much of the scalp and forehead originate from the upper part of the neck at the base of the skull. These nerves also supply us with sensation from the joints and tissues of the upper neck. If there is a problem in this part of the neck it can be felt as pain in the form of a headache.

These headaches may show signs to indicate that they originate from the neck. Limitations of neck movements, tenderness and soreness around the neck, and pain that feels like a tight band around the head and behind the eyes are commonly seen with these types of headaches.

They are frequently seen in drivers and in people who work on computers or sit for prolonged periods of time. These problems are also often associated with traumatic injuries to the neck especially car accidents and sporting incidents.

So how do we get rid of these headaches?

The most important thing to do is to have the pain properly assessed to find out if the headache is coming from the neck. If this is the problem, treatment aimed at relieving the stiff joints, stretching the stiff muscles, or strengthening the muscles can significantly reduce the problem. Correcting poor postures and addressing stress can also be vital in fixing this very painful and persistent problem. Special exercises, prescribed by your LifeCare physiotherapist, are often required to alleviate the pain and prevent a recurrence. If we find your headache is not related to your neck, we will communicate with your local doctor who will provide further medical assistance.

LifeCare’s physiotherapists are trained and experienced in the treatment of neck related headaches and will work with your doctor to overcome this painful condition.

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