We’ve all suffered from a nagging headache every now and again, but did you know neck pain causes headaches?

These headaches are called “cervicogenic headaches.” Cervicogenic headaches are sometimes misdiagnosed as either migraine or cluster headaches (headaches that originate in the head).  But because I know you want answers, here are some of the common ways neck pain can cause headaches.

How does neck pain cause headaches?

There are different conditions that trigger cervicogenic headaches.  Our bodies are all different and the cause of headache will also differ between individuals.  However, here are common causes to headaches:

  • A herniated or bulged disc in the neck
  • Whiplash injury
  • A sports injury
  • Bad posture while sitting for prolonged periods of time
  • Unknowingly pushing your chin forward, causing pressure on the neck and base of your skill
  • Sleeping in an awkward position


Symptoms of Cervicogenic Headaches

Every body is different, but here are commonly reported symptoms of cervicogenic headaches:

  • Pain on one side of your head or face
  • Pain that comes from a sudden movement of your neck
  • Steady pain that doesn’t throb
  • Pain when your neck remains in the same position for some time
  • Head pain when you cough, sneeze, or take a deep breath
  • An attack of pain that can last for hours or days
  • Stiff neck – you can’t move your neck normally
  • Pain that stays in one spot, like the back, front, or side of your head or your eye

Treatment for Cervicogenic Headaches

Many doctors may recommend oral medication to relieve pain, muscle relaxants to ease muscles, or injections.  Those treatment options will reduce the pain temporarily, however they will not treat the root cause of your headache, neck and shoulder pain.  Physical Therapy

How can Advanced Physical Therapy Specialists Help?

Physical therapy for neck pain focuses on using corrective exercise and manual therapy to correct your specific issue as quickly as possible. We will work with you to show you how care for your neck and prevent the neck pain causes headaches.  We work to restore mobility to stiff joints and reduce muscle tension in order to return you to more natural movement without pain.  Manual physical therapy may provide neck and shoulder pain, and headache pain relief while strengthening weak neck muscles and improving mobility to your joints.

The good thing about opting to go the physical therapy route, is that you have Direct Access to us.  You do not need a doctor’s referral prior to seeking help for the neck and shoulder pain that is causing your headache.  Not to mention, you will not have to depend on oral pain medication or injections.

Our goal at Advanced Physical Therapy Specialists is to have you return to the daily activities that you wish you were doing, in the most natural way possible.  We work specifically with your body during our hour long, one-on-one physical therapy sessions.

If headaches are interfering in your life and are getting worse and more frequent, reach out to us as soon as possible.  The sooner you start treatment, the sooner your recovery. Remember, your health and well being should always be a top priority.

Click here to take the first step towards an active, pain-free lifestyle!