Did you know that neck pain is one of the most common causes of headaches? While this may not be something that comes up in everyday conversation, it’s worth paying attention to if you’re someone who experiences regular headaches. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the ways neck pain can contribute to headaches, and we’ll also discuss some tips for how to manage this type of pain. So if you’re dealing with frequent headaches and you’re not sure why it’s worth considering whether neck pain might be a contributing factor. Thanks for reading!
How neck pains contribute to headaches
Neck issues are a very often misunderstood or underdiagnosed reason people get headaches. There are exercises you can do to keep your neck strong. Quite frankly, it’s a recommendation we have for people who get headaches as there are so many different types of headaches that are originating from the neck. It just often goes undiagnosed or misunderstood.
You may wonder, “Why does the neck contribute to the headache?”
There are many different moving parts from the neck that go up to the head. If you look at illustrations from anatomy books, you will find muscles up in your middle back. These muscles are attached to your head. This could be a part of the reasons for the headaches. The same thing applies to all the different joints in your neck. If there’s a little problem in the neck, it could cause some problems.
Even with your jaw. Consider the spot in between the bases of your ear and jaw (temporomandibular joint). Your jaw, your head, and your cervical spine are all touching in this little spot. If there’s a little problem between any of those, or there could be one that’s “misbehaving”, the other ones will try to make up the difference for that misbehaving part.
People get headaches for different reasons. Sometimes it’s because a nerve is irritated, or because the blood vessels are dilated or constricted. Other times it’s because of metabolic byproducts or debris from thinking too much or being stressed out. Metabolites, or, the byproducts, can irritate the skin (lamina) lining the spine.
Imagine a walnut covered in nougat, which is then surrounded by milky chocolate. Our brains are like this. The brain is surrounded by fluid and it’s protected by a hard shell. The thin skin between the hard shell and the fluid can get irritated. It’s called dura matter. The dura mater relies on the proper flow and circulation of the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). The CSF is, essentially, the lubrication or the fluid that surrounds the brain. If there’s any kind of blockage in your neck or a limitation in circulation, the CSF turns over multiple times a day. If it doesn’t properly do that, then you can get an accumulation of metabolites in an area which can be very irritating to the brain and the skin overlying the brain.
Movement and Circulation
The way you move your neck affects the way blood circulates. It also affects the way the nerves going to your head and face work. If your neck is not working right, other muscles in your body can take over for what ligaments should be doing. This can cause compression on the nerve and create pain in the back of your head or across the front of your face over time.
Furthermore, if you have a history of migraines, and for whatever reason, then you start to have neck pains too, the neck pain will not only make the migraines worse. The neck pains can also kick off a migraine when you least expect to have it.
Nerves go to the joint that connects your skull and neck. The nerves going to these joints are the same ones that go up the back of your head. There is a strong connection between the joints, neck pain, and headaches. This is because when the nerves get irritated, your spine can’t tell where the signal is coming from. The signal will be confused and the pain will be felt all over.
If you’re having a headache, keeping a healthy neck, or figuring out what’s unhealthy about your neck can be a major step in figuring out the long-term treatment for chronic headaches.
Therapies (We have them at Wellward!)
A lot of times, all it takes is a few hands-on therapies to your neck to get things loosened up and moving again. Some will need either dry needling or acupuncture which can help calm things down. This will help take the big pains and turn them into manageable, focal spots. In other words, we can tackle this one step at a time, and you will feel relief along the way. This is something we do often here at Wellward. Sometimes, when everything feels a little out of balance, we need to bring things back into focus and make them more focal.
Then, with all these wonderful treatment options we have at Wellward, we can now map out the exact spot where the pain is coming from and treat it from there. Also, if you’re getting Botox injections regularly, there is a good chance that the origin of your problem goes beyond just face muscles. If we can find a way to solve the neck component more permanently than with just a few cycles, we can move on to something new. Perhaps even alternative treatments like stem cell gene therapy.
As you can see, neck pain is a very important, but often overlooked contributor to headaches. If you are experiencing regular headaches and have not considered your neck health, please reach out for a consultation. We offer several therapies that can help improve movement and circulation in the neck, which may reduce or eliminate your headache symptoms. Don’t suffer any longer- schedule a discovery call today!
If you’re experiencing regular headaches and have not yet addressed your neck pain and would like help getting to the bottom of it, we’d be happy to schedule a discovery call with you. During this call, we can discuss your symptoms in more detail and come up with a plan tailored specifically for you.
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional