What You Can Do To Relieve Tension Headaches:
- Proper posture Having good posture with sitting, typing at a computer, standing and working all play a part in how you use your neck and shoulder muscles throughout the day. Take time to examine and make sure your posture is what it should be.
- Vary your tasks If you sit for hours each day at a computer, make sure to give your muscles frequent breaks. You can do other productive tasks in standing or moving around the office.
- Exercise Strengthen the muscles of the mid back and shoulder blade areas. Exercises such as rows and pull downs can help strengthen weakened postural muscles. Exercise also helps release endorphins, which can counteract stress.
- Handle your stress Handle tasks and obligations one at a time and get them completed. Piling up tasks, even small ones, draws your attention on them and creates stress.
- Watch what you eat avoid foods, which can affect your bodys acidity level such as processed foods, excessive sugars, and high fat meals. Eat a little better and drink more water. Your blood chemistry will be more balanced throughout the day. In fact, a big cause of headaches is chronic dehydration, so keep a glass of water by your desk during the day and constantly drink.
Cervicogenic Headaches Start In The Neck
A cervicogenic headache starts in the cervical spineyour neck. Sometimes these headaches mimic migraine headache symptoms. Initially, pain may begin intermittently, spread to one side of the patient’s head, and become almost continuous. Furthermore, pain can be exacerbated by neck movement or a particular neck position .Cervicogenic headache pain may be felt behind the brow and forehead, even though the problem originates from the cervical spine. Photo Source: 123RF.com.
When Is Headache And Neck Pain Serious
Immediate medical attention is advised in neck pain and headache associated with one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain and numbness radiating down one or both arms
- Stiff neck with high fever and/or headache
- Headache triggered by coughing, sneezing, running, bending, straining with a bowel movement, or Valsalva maneuver
- Seizures, slurred speech, loss of balance and blurry vision
- Unintended weight loss or nausea
These symptoms may indicate serious underlying conditions such as aneurysms, meningitis, stroke, or tumor. Neck pain as a result of trauma to the base of the skull must be considered as an emergency and treated without delay.
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What Causes Neck Pain
The neck is also called the cervical spine. Its made up of seven bones responsible for supporting the head and allowing nerves to travel from the spine to the brain. When any part of the neck is injured or strained, pain can occur. Some common causes of neck pain include:
- Your car: How you drive can contribute to neck pain. The way you sit in the drivers seat should make it easy for you to hold your spine straight without leaning forward or craning your neck. If the seat is too far back or too low, youre likely to lean forward and put stress on the neck. Driving for long periods can also cause eye strain, which can lead to discomfort in the neck.
- Your phone: If youre always checking your phone, you might have noticed soreness in the neck. Looking at your phone with your head dropped and your shoulders stooped affects your necks curve, potentially leading to problems. When youre stooped forward, theres more weight and pressure on the neck, which can lead to muscle strain.
- Your work style: Sitting in front of a computer or at a desk all day is known to contribute to spinal problems, including neck pain. If your computer monitor is too low or too high, you have to strain your neck to clearly see the screen, putting more pressure on your neck.
Shoulder And Neck Referred Pain
Because of the close connection of the nerves serving them, shoulder and neck pain are often mistaken for one another.
You may feel a pain in the shoulder thats actually coming from your neck, and vice versa. This is called referred pain.
Some of the symptoms of referred pain from your neck include:
- stabbing, burning, or electric-like tingling pain
- pain that radiates to your shoulder blade, elbow, and hand
- pain that radiates down your arm when you twist your neck
- pain thats relieved when you support your neck
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When To Worry About Neck Pain And When Not To
Tips, checklists, and non-scary possible explanations for terrible neck pain
We fear spine pain more than we fear other kinds of pain, especially when its severe and/or constant. Backs and necks seem vulnerable. And yet most spinal pain does not have a serious cause. The bark of neck pain is usually worse than its bite. This article explains how to tell the difference as well as possible when youre first starting to wonder just whats going on in there.
Please do seek care immediately if youve been in an accident or you have severe or weird pain or other symptoms obviously. This article is for non-emergencies. But if you have neck pain thats been starting to worry you, this is a good place to get some reassurance and decide whether or not to talk to a doctor.
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
- You are experiencing “the worst headache of your life.”
- You have speech, vision, or movement problems or loss of balance, especially if you have not had these symptoms with a headache before.
- The headache starts very suddenly.
- The headache occurs with repeated vomiting.
- You have a high fever.
Also, call your provider if:
- Your headache patterns or pain change.
- Treatments that once worked are no longer helpful.
- You have side effects from medicines, including irregular heartbeat, pale or blue skin, extreme sleepiness, persistent cough, depression, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, cramps, dry mouth, or extreme thirst.
- You are pregnant or could become pregnant. Some medicines should not be taken when pregnant.
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How Do These Types Of Headaches Occur
There are many reasons a person may get a neck-related headache. One of the most common reasons is car accident injuries.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries treated by an auto accident doctor. Whiplash is also a common reason for people to have neck-related injuries. For those who receive a car accident injury in New York, make sure you look for a doctor who takes no-fault insurance.
Other reasons these headaches might occur:
- A prolapsed disc in the neck
- Poor posture
- A compressed or pinched nerve in the cervical spine
Its even possible to have a cervicogenic headache from sleeping funny. Most of these reasons occur because a muscle has been mildly injured or a nerve has been pinched.
Relieve Neck Pain And Headaches With Tennis Ball
You can also use a tennis ball to relieve various types of nerve pain, including headache pain that starts at the back of the neck.
This is what you should do to help alleviate neck pain and headaches quickly:
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Whos Most Likely To Get A Tension Headache
As a tension headache doesnt have a unique cause it doesnt have a single target either. Young people leading life on a fast lane can suffer from this as well as older people. Even teens can experience tension headaches as they are under a lot of pressure that meeting different deadlines and transition to college can cause.
Headaches Caused By A Neck Problem
Headaches stemming from a neck problem are usually chronic and vary in type depending on the cause. Common examples include:
- Cervicogenic headache . CGH usually begins as a dull ache in the neck and radiates upward along the back of the head, almost always affecting just one side. Pain may also spread to the forehead, temple, and area around the eyes and/or ears. CGH is caused due to an underlying disc, joint, muscle, or nerve disorder in the neck.
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Treatment Options For Tension
Over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and paracetamol are commonly used to treat tension-type headache. It shouldnt be necessary to take stronger medications.
Its important to discuss use of any drugs with your doctor if you are pregnant. Using painkillers more than twice a week can increase the risk of tension-type developing into chronic daily headache, and you should also speak to your doctor if you are regularly getting headaches.
As stress is a cause of tension-type headache, you may find it helpful to learn relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, avoid stressful situations as much as possible, and consider speaking to a counsellor or therapist.
Neck Pain With Headache Treatment
There are many treatments for this condition and the foremost thing a doctor does is diagnosing the root cause. Based on the reason he may treat with various medicines and therapies that may include OTC drugs, prescribed medicine, muscle relaxers, cortisone injections, and posture adjustments. They may also recommend physiotherapy if needed.
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Warning Signs Of More Serious Arm & Shoulder Problems
In some instances, shoulder pain and arm pain can indicate more serious problems. These problems might include cancer, fractures, infection, severe nerve compression and ankylosis spondylitis.;
If there is cancer in the bones of the spine, this usually means metastases .
Fractures of the spine can be caused by a direct hit, fall, accident but sometimes can occur without trauma, called spontaneous fractures. Spontaneous fractures, usually can occur in elderly people with osteoporosis or those who may be taking steroid medications that weaken the bone.
Infections of the spine tend to occur if patients have a weakened immune system from any cause or medical condition. Sometimes infections of the spine can occur if there is an infection elsewhere in the body. People with spinal infections usually feel unwell and can have sweats and a fever.
Nerve compression, called myelopathy, where there is a dangerous compression of the spinal cord in the neck. Myelopathy could cause symptoms that might include, weakness or problems with coordination in the arms, hands, legs, or even feet.
Ankylosing spondylitis is progressive arthritis of the spine and can cause widespread inflammation, pain and stiffness throughout the spine.
Seek urgent and specialist medical advice if:
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Can The Neck Cause A Headache
When the upper neck joints arent functioning at their best, they can actually refer pain up into your head. Referred pain simply means that you feel pain in a different location than the actual problem area. So in this case, even though the upper neck needs some work, you end up feeling pain in the head instead of, or in addition to, the neck. This is called cervicogenic headache .;
One thing that differentiates CGH from other headaches is that it typically starts after having your neck in the same position for a long time . This type of headache is usually one-sided and starts at the back of the head, working its way up and around the ear to the forehead and behind the eye. You might even have some pain into your shoulder and arm. Youll also likely notice some stiffness and neck pain with turning your head or looking up and down.;
Does any of this sound familiar?
If so, youre in luck! It turns out that physical therapy is wildly successful in treating these types of headaches.;
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Migraine Vs Tension Headache
Both of these conditions are primarily felt as pain in the head which is why many people are not able to make a clear distinction between a migraine and a headache. However, this difference might be very important because the treatment of respective conditions is different. A migraine usually affects the side of your head. Additionally, migraine is often followed by symptoms such as nausea, dizziness or seeing flashing or blind spots which, is not the case with tension headaches.
When To Worry About Neck Pain With A Headache
Usually, theres nothing to worry but at times when you notice these conditions immediately consult your doctor.
- Having shoulder and neck pain with headache or pain that extends to the lower back.
- The presence of the condition for more than 2 weeks.
- When the condition is due to the result of an injury.
- Eye pain is a combination of headache and neck pain.
- Slurred speech and blur vision.
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Treating Neck And Shoulder Pain
Treatment of neck and shoulder pain depends on the underlying cause.
Heart attack, stroke, and other serious conditions often include emergency treatment. For most other situations, home remedies, physical therapy, and massage will bring improvement.
Some of the more serious situations that may require surgical treatment include:
How Can You Relieve Tension Headache Pain
Here are some tips to help you manage the cause of your tension headaches:
- Get an eye exam. If youre straining to read, or keep tilting your head up and down to use those off-the-shelf glasses, you may need a new pair of glasses.
- Redesign your workstation. Simply raising your computer monitor or getting a document stand can help reduce repeated head tilting that can strain the occipital muscles.
- Avoid slouching and practice good posture. Consider trying yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi. All of these disciplines are great forms of exercise and all can help to improve posture. Also, you may want to consult a physical therapist, chiropractor, or movement therapist for exercises that are tailored to your need.
- Get a 30-minute massage that concentrates on the neck and upper back. This can help relax your muscles and relieve your headache pain.
- Try applying a hot pack to the base of the head. Do this for 15-20 minute intervals.
- Stuff two tennis balls into a sock and tie it off tightly. Lie on your back on the floor. Place the tennis balls under the base of your skull and allow your head to compress against them. Gently rock your head back and forth and side to side for a few minutes.
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Tips To Relieve Headaches From Neck Pain
After youve figured out the cause of your neck pain and headaches, there are things you can do at home to help ease the pain and start to feel better. Heres how to relieve headaches caused by neck pain:
1. Improve Workplace Ergonomics
Adjusting how you work is good for preventing headaches caused by pain in the neck. How you sit at work can put strain and pressure on your neck. If possible, adjust the height of your monitor so you are looking directly at it rather than up or down.
If you sit, choose a chair that is the appropriate height for you. Your feet should rest flat on the floor when you sit, and your knees should be a few inches from the edge of the chair. If you have to look down at paperwork while on the job, consider getting a stand to hold the documents at eye level so you arent constantly bending your neck.
2. Improve Your Posture
Your posture has a significant effect on how your neck feels. If you regularly slouch, you put a lot of extra weight on the head and neck, leading to pain and discomfort.
The first step toward improving your posture is becoming aware of it. When you stand, notice the angle of your back, neck and shoulders. Try to stand up as tall and straight as possible. That means pulling in your stomach and pushing your shoulders back slightly. Your head should be level as if you are balancing a book on it.
3. Improve Your Sleep
4. Exercise More
5. Schedule a Massage
6. Manage Your Stress
7. Try Heat and Cold
What Is The Cervical Spine
The cervical spine is the neck region of your spinal column. It’s made up of seven;small, highly mobile bones, and their associated ligaments, muscles, and shock-absorbing discs.
Anything that aggravates or comes into contact with your spinal nerve roots can lead to radiculopathy, and that includes several common conditions in which growths or abnormalities cause something to invade the space of the nerve root.
- Herniated disc: The shock-absorbing discs between vertebrae can become damaged and may develop a bulge and/or leak fluid.
- Synovial cyst: These lumps are caused by a buildup of joint fluid that forms a sac.
- Bone spur: An extra bit of bone forms in response to damage or chronic inflammation.
- Cervical spondylosis : This condition involves the formation of bone spurs in the neck.
- Spinal stenosis: An advanced stage of spinal arthritis, stenosis occurs when the spaces in the spine become narrowed, usually due to excess bone growth.
- Degenerative disc disease : Discs between vertebrae erode and fray over time, which may cause a herniated disc. In cases of severe degeneration, bone-on-bone contact can cause bone spurs in the joint.
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