The Link Between Neck Pain And Headaches
If you have ever experienced neck pain and headaches at the same time, there is a reason why. Though many people do not realize it, the two conditions are linked. At Advanced Physical Medicine of Yorkville, we have years of experience providing patients with chiropractic care for headache and neck pain relief.
Can Trapezitis Cause Headache
Can Trapezitis cause headache? Upper trapezius trigger points are responsible for neck, shoulder, and headaches in trapezitis. Lower trapezius lower points cause pain in the arms and back.
Do tight traps cause headaches? Tight traps can cause headaches and even dizziness because the upper trapezius are attached to the base of the skull.
Can rhomboid pain cause headaches? Shoulder problems can cause neck pain and headaches because the shoulder and neck share the same muscles. What hold the shoulder in position is not joint compression, but actually ligaments and muscle tone specifically the trapezius, levator scapulae, serratus anterior, and rhomboid muscles.
Can scapula pain cause headaches? This means that the muscles and joints in the neck and shoulders are strained, causing irritation and spasms that trigger headaches. These can be felt in the neck, shoulders, one side of the head or face, and even the forehead.
Is Your Headache Really A Shoulder Problem
In situations involving my patients who have chronic headaches, once I perform a thorough biomechanical evaluation, I often find they have a dysfunctional rotator cuff or upper trapezius muscle. Many clients actually see me for their shoulder pain first and dont even tell me about the headaches or realize that their headaches are connected to the shoulder injury.
The muscle dysfunction occurs from what we call muscle compensation usually from an injury, which happened as a result of a motor vehicle accident, trauma, sports, or a fall. After the initial injury or incident, the damaged part of the body over time can heal but often the muscle never regains its strength. When this happens, other muscles will start to help out and work extra hard for the weaker ones. Over time these muscles become strained and angry. Those angry muscles around the upper shoulders and neck create a radiating pain that can wrap around the ears, head, and eyes. This might be misdiagnosed as a migraine because people will refer to their symptoms as light sensitive, shooting pain around their eyes, fullness in their ears or nose and classic pounding or ache in the head and face..
How could shoulder or neck muscles cause headaches? Lets understand why.
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Diagnosing And Treating Neck Pain And Headache
Clinicians use information from the features of headache, physical examination, and diagnostic tests to make an accurate diagnosis of the type of headache. It is also possible for two headaches to occur together. Treatment of primary headaches include medications for both immediate relief and sustained relief . Treatment of secondary headaches focuses on the underlying condition to control symptoms.
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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Find Relief For Painful Tmj
If you have chronic headaches or persistent neck or shoulder pain, TMJ could be the cause. The first step to finding relief for your symptoms is to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Young so he can assess your jaw joint function and evaluate your bite balance. To learn more about TMJ treatments and to schedule your own evaluation, book an appointment online today.
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When To Seek Help
Continual pain that doesn’t improve on its means it’s time to consult with a professional.
Visit the doctor immediately if you feel that your neck pain started running to your arms or you started getting numbness with tingling.
Doctors will first physically examine you and ask for your medical history. If they didn’t get to the actual cause from there, they would recommend you to go through X-rays, CT scans, and MRI.
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Neck Pain With Headache Causes And Treatment
Headaches and neck pain go hand-in-hand for many reasons, a stiff or strangled neck most of the time leads to neck pain with a headache. These headaches are commonly called cervicogenic headaches. Knowing how to take care of such headaches caused by the sensitivity of nerves in the neck can help you a long way in avoiding other complications especially in the head and the region near the neck.
What Are The Symptoms Of Back And Neck Pain
Symptoms linked to back pain may include:
- Dull, burning, or sharp pain in your back. The pain can be limited to a single spot or cover a large area.
- Leg numbness or tingling above or below your knee
- Stiffness or aching that occurs anywhere along your spine from your neck to your tailbone
- Sharp, shooting pain that spreads from your low back to your buttocks, down the back of your thigh, and into your calf and toes
- Consistent ache in the middle or lower part of your back, especially after standing or sitting for a long period
Loss of bladder and bowel control with weakness in both legs are symptoms of a serious condition that needs medical attention right away.
Symptoms linked to neck pain can be:
- Arm numbness or tingling
- Shoulder pain
- Sharp shooting pain or a dull ache in your neck
Pain that occurs suddenly in your back or neck from an injury is acute pain. Acute pain comes on quickly and may leave sooner than chronic back or neck pain. This type of pain should not last more than 6 weeks.
Pain that may come on quickly or slowly and lingers for 3 months or more is chronic pain. Chronic pain is less common than acute pain.
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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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Neck Pain Treatment With Physical Therapy In Columbus
When you are experiencing neck pain or a headache, you want relief. Getting this relief through physical therapy in Columbus can be obtained at Peak Physiotherapy and Performance. The therapists at P3 understand that getting back to enjoying life is important, and helping you achieve that goal safely and quickly is our top priority. After assessing your pain, we might use any of the methods listed below.
- Dry needling This technique involves inserting thin needles into a point in the muscle that may trigger pain . It is an effective tool for alleviating pain and improving muscle and joint symptoms.
- Corrective exercise Corrective exercise uses movements and positions to isolate and strengthen weak areas in the body. It has been shown to improve range of motion, reduce stiff joints, help with pain management, and enhance muscle function.
- Cupping therapy This therapy involves attaching cups to specific parts of the body. Cupping therapy is useful for alleviating pain and reducing muscle tension.
- Joint manipulation In joint manipulation, the therapist uses specialized maneuvers to effect results. These movements can help relieve pain, increase range of motion, and alleviate muscle tightness and joint stiffness.
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Headaches That Cause Neck Pain
If you are experiencing neck pain alongside your headaches, you are most likely suffering from cervicogenic headaches. These headaches are caused by issues with your cervical spine and neck, along with the surrounding muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Cervicogenic headaches make it difficult to move your neck properly. They also cause pain on one side of your head. This type of headache pain usually originates at the back of your neck or head and spreads towards your eyes. These headaches hurt more than other types because they put pressure on your neck.
Less Common Symptoms Of Cgh
Examples of less common symptoms of CGH include:
- Swelling around the eye of the affected side
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Headache and neck pain affecting both sides of the head and neck
- Pain felt on touching the opposite side of the head or face during a severe attack of CGH, possibly due to an injury to the trigeminal nerve and/or spinal nerves in the cervical spine
Some conditions, such as migraines and tension-type headaches, share similar characteristics as CGH in terms of the location and symptoms. So, a careful evaluation is needed rule CGH in or out. It is also possible for CGH to occur with a migraine headache.
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Chiropractic Care For Cervicogenic Headaches
If you suffer from cervicogenic headaches, our chiropractor can help heal you using spinal manipulation, joint mobilization, and deep neck flexion exercises. Cervical spinal manipulation is performed to alleviate neck pain. Joint mobilization involves physically moving the joints in your neck to bring pain relief and restore your range of motion. When it comes to deep flexion exercises, our chiropractor will actively move your joints and muscles around so that they are returned to their natural position. These exercises also stretch your neck’s flexor muscles, allowing you to hold your neck in its proper position more easily. Electric muscle stimulation, soft tissue mobilization, and other similar treatments may also be used in conjunction with chiropractic care.
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.
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Tips For Relieving Headaches Caused By Neck Pain
You know the signs of a headache, such as a dull ache or a feeling of tightness creeping up your neck and across your forehead. Headaches are among the most commonly occurring ailments in the world. More than half of all women report having tension headaches at some point, and one-third of all men report the same. In the U.S., 20% of women and 10% of men said they had a severe headache at some point in the past three months. Multiple factors can trigger a headache, depending on the type. In some cases, a headache is due to neck pain.
Learn more about the connection between pain in the neck and headaches below and what to do for headaches caused by neck pain.
Headache Neck Pain And Nauseahow To Ease Them
Headache, neck pain, and nausea may stem from a misalignment in the upper cervical spine. Our upper cervical spine is vital in supporting the weight of our head. Therefore, injuries in this area of the body can cause moderate to severe problems.
Upper cervical chiropractic care uses a gentle and non-invasive technique to access the root of your pain. Chiropractors will precisely reposition any misaligned parts of your upper cervical spine. This method can help release pressure between your spinal cord, nerves, head, and brainstem.
However, before chiropractors do the realignment, a proper diagnosis must be made first. If you think that an upper cervical misalignment causes your headache, neck pain and nausea, you must book a consultation with an upper cervical chiropractor. Go to our directory so you can find the nearest upper cervical chiropractor near you.
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How Are Neck And Shoulder Pain Diagnosed
- X-rays: Plain X-rays can reveal narrowing of the space between two spinal bones, arthritis-like diseases, tumors, slipped discs, narrowing of the spinal canal, fractures and instability of the spinal column.
- MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging is a noninvasive procedure that can reveal the detail of neural elements, as well as problems with the tendons and ligaments.
- Myelography/CT scanning: This is sometimes used as an alternative to MRI.
- Electrodiagnostic studies: Electromyography and nerve conduction velocity are sometimes used to diagnose neck and shoulder pain, arm pain, numbness and tingling.
Neck And Shoulder Pain: Roots And Types
Whether you like it or not the pain in the neck or shoulders will happen at some point of your life. You can prevent them from coming early by exercising and engaging in activities that require a lot of movement, but theyre still coming in the old age. This tells one thing: these problems heavily depend on your lifestyle. If youre snowed under a lot of paperwork in your office, have a repetitive task, work with drills or with your hands overhead, youre bound to this problem. These are all physical factors that contribute to the neck and shoulder pain. However, there are also psychosocial factors such as stress that may well lead to this issue.
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Treating A Tension Headache
Your doctor might recommend any of a variety of medications, including:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers. These include ibuprofen or acetaminophen .
- Prescription pain relievers. Examples include naproxen , ketorolac tromethamine , or indomethacin
- Triptans. These drugs treat migraines and would be prescribed for someone experiencing tension headaches along with migraines. An example is sumatriptan .
For migraine, your doctor might also recommend preventive medication, such as:
- blood pressure medications
A pinched nerve occurs when a nerve in your neck is irritated or compressed. With so many sensory nerve fibers in the spinal cord in your neck, a pinched nerve here can result in a number of symptoms, including:
- stiff neck
- headache caused by moving your neck
Other symptoms can include shoulder pain along with muscle weakness and numbness or tingling sensations.
Schedule An Appointment For Your Neck Pain With Disc
If you have neck pain and headaches, figuring out what is causing the pain can help you get relief. At DISC, our team of specialists at practices throughout the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area can diagnose your condition. We can then offer you relief tips for headaches caused by neck pain.
We always recommend the least invasive options first. You might see improvement with conservative solutions like heat and cold, relaxation techniques or medication. If your neck pain and headaches continue, surgery might be the best option to help you get the relief you want. To learn more, contact DISC today to schedule an appointment.
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