Neck Pain & Headaches

Migraines and Headaches from Neck Pain

Headaches are defined as pain in the head, scalp and in or around the eyes or ears. Serious causes of headaches are very rare. There are many different types of headaches, and many different causes. The most common type of headache seen at Melbourne Osteo is a tension headache.

Headaches can be also caused not only by a dysfunction in the neck but also by tension, physical and emotional stress. Most people can feel much better by making lifestyle changes, learning ways to relax, seeing your local osteopath and sometimes taking medication.

What are the causes of headaches?

There are two types of headaches: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Primary headaches are not associated with (caused by) other diseases. Examples of primary headaches are migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by associated disease. The associated disease may be minor or serious and life threatening.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache that people experience and are most likely caused by tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. When there is a problem with some of the joints or muscles in you neck and you experience pain into your head, this can usually be due to a nerve being compressed at the top of your neck, or by the pull of muscles that attach to the base of the skull/ or temporals.

Your neck may be causing your headache if:

  • Your doctor has cleared you of any other factors that may be contributing to your headache
  • Your neck pain radiates from the back to the front of your head
  • Headache is worsened by neck movement or by holding your neck in the one position for example staring at the computer screen throughout the day with your chin poke forward
  • Headache is eased by pressure at the base of your skull
  • This type of headache may not always be relieved by medication

Common causes or contributing factors of tension headaches are:

  • Stress, depression, or anxiety
  • Overworking, not getting enough sleep, missing meals, and using alcohol or certain drugs
  • Cheese, chocolate or MSG.
  • People who drink caffeine can have headaches when they don’t get their usual daily amount.
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Exerting yourself too much
  • Holding your head in a one position for a long time, for example an office worker staring at a computer or a lab technician staring into a microscope.

What are the symptoms of tension headaches?

Tension headaches tend to be on both sides of your head. They often start at the back of your head and spread forward. The pain may feel dull or squeezing, like a tight band or vice. Your shoulders, neck or jaw may feel tight and sore. The pain is usually persistent, but it does not get worse with activity. There may be an associated nausea, dizziness, ringing in the ears, vomiting, and/or sensitivity to light and sound, but these associated symptoms are often rare.

Treatment of tension headaches

Since most tension headaches are as a result of a neck problem, the best solution usually is to fix the neck, especially if the headaches have been occur frequently and have been for some time. Osteopaths have great success in treating neck pain and headaches. They provide quality care and treatment, and will look to ways to try and minimise the reoccurrence of your headache. The osteopath may ask you about your work set up, your daily activities and habits, and then address your posture, followed by a series of movements to assess your neck and back. Treatment may consist of neck and back joint mobilisations and in some circumstances manipulations, stretching-type techniques, fascial and muscle release techniques (including massage).
To minimise your headaches, neck and back pain address your work station and posture, find ways to minimise your stress, drink plenty of water and eat your meals at regular scheduled times.

Contact Osteopaths and Remedial Massager’s at Mosaic Health today and relieve your headaches.

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