Can Neck Pain Cause Headaches?
Can Neck Pain Cause Headaches?
Neck pain and headaches are two common health complaints. While they may be caused by different things, they can also occur together. In fact, some people find that their neck pain is the true cause of their headaches. If you’re dealing with both neck pain and headaches, it’s important to figure out the root cause of your symptoms and seek appropriate treatment. Here, we’ll take a look at the relationship between neck pain and headaches and discuss some possible causes and treatment options.
What are some of the most common causes of neck pain?
Neck pain is a common complaint that can have many different causes. In some cases, the pain may be due to muscle tension or poor posture. In other cases, it may be the result of an injury or underlying health condition. Some of the most common causes of neck pain include:
-Muscle tension: When the muscles in the neck are tight or contract unexpectedly, it can cause pain. This is often the result of poor posture or stress.
-Joint inflammation: Inflammation of the joints in the neck (known as cervical arthritis) is a common cause of neck pain. This condition is often the result of wear and tear on the joints, although it can also be caused by infection or injury.
-Injury: A fall, blow to the head, or other trauma can cause neck pain. Whiplash, a type of neck injury that occurs when the head is suddenly jerked forward then backward, is a particularly common problem.
-Degenerative conditions: When the discs in our spine begin to degenerate and wear down, this can lead to neck pain, as well as other problems such as stiffness and reduced mobility.
While these are some of the more common causes of neck pain, it’s important to note that there are many other potential causes.
Can neck pain cause headaches, and if so, why does this happen?
While the exact link between neck pain and headaches is not fully understood, there are a number of potential explanations. One theory is that neck pain can trigger changes in the musculoskeletal system, which in turn can lead to headaches. Another possibility is that neck pain can cause changes in blood flow, nerve flow, or pressure, which can also lead to headaches. Additionally, neck pain can cause changes in posture that can contribute to headaches. Regardless of the underlying cause, it is clear that neck pain and headaches often occur together.
How can you treat neck pain and headaches at home without medication?
While over-the-counter medication can provide temporary relief, there are a number of simple home remedies that can help to reduce pain and tension. Try the following:
- Ice the neck and/or head 20 minutes
- Deep meditative breathing for 15 minutes
- Get outside, breathe fresh air
- Drink half your body in ounces of water daily (100 lbs = 50 oz)
- Gently stretch or self-massage
- Headache pressure points (see picture)
- Get away from your desk and go for a walk
- Eliminate the blue light on your computer and cell phone displays
- Take magnesium
- Take CoQ10
When should you see a doctor for neck pain and headaches?
There are a few instances where you should see a medical doctor for neck pain and headaches. If the pain is severe and persists for more than a week, if it is accompanied by fever, if you have suffered a head injury, or if you experience a sudden onset of vision problems, slurred speech, or paralysis, you should seek medical attention immediately. In addition, if you experience chronic migraines or weekly headaches, you may benefit from seeing a chiropractic doctor to discuss preventive treatments. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, most forms of neck pain and headache can be effectively managed without running to the hospital.