What Causes Neck Pain And Headache?

What Causes Neck Pain And Headache
Cervicogenic Headache – A cervicogenic headache is an example of referred pain. It’s a pain in the neck that you feel in your head. People often develop cervicogenic headaches after an injury that causes whiplash or as a result of a pinched nerve in the neck.

Arthritis, neck sprains or a neck fracture can also lead to cervicogenic headaches. Sleep position and your posture at work might also trigger this type of headache. The signs of a cervicogenic headache are somewhat different from other types of headaches. Often, you’ll feel pain on one side of the head.

The pain might start at the bottom of your skull and feel as if it is traveling up one side of the head. Your neck might feel stiff, too, and you might have discomfort when you turn your neck from one side or the other. Some people also have pain around one eye or pain when they cough or sneeze.

When should I worry about headaches and neck pain?

When to worry about a headache – You can take care of many types of headaches by yourself, and your doctor can give you medication to control most of the tougher headaches. But some headaches call for prompt medical care. Here are some warning signs for when you should worry about headaches:

Headaches that first develop after age 50 A major change in the pattern of your headaches An unusually severe headache Head pain that increases with coughing or movement Headaches that get steadily worse Changes in personality or mental function Headaches that are accompanied by fever, stiff neck, confusion, decreased alertness or memory, or neurological symptoms such as visual disturbances, slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or seizures Headaches that are accompanied by a painful red eye Headaches that are accompanied by pain and tenderness near the temples Headaches after a blow to the head Headaches that prevent normal daily activities Headaches that come on abruptly, especially if they wake you up Headaches in patients with cancer or impaired immune systems

How do you get rid of a headache and neck pain?

Headache with neck pain can be a double whammy that makes it difficult to move the head and/or concentrate. While headaches can cause the muscles in your neck to become stiff and painful, a problem in your neck, such as irritated nerves, can also cause headaches. Common conditions where you may experience headache and neck pain together are:

  • Tension headache
  • Cervicogenic headache
  • Migraine

View Slideshow: 7 Types of Headaches Several conditions can cause neck pain and headache to occur together. Read What Is Causing My Neck Pain and Headache? advertisement Here are 11 tips to help relieve headache and neck pain without medication. Just remember to stop a treatment if it makes your pain worse.

  1. Apply firm pressure. Applying compression on the temples, forehead, and/or back of the neck provide may provide relief from pain caused by tension headaches or migraines.1 This pressure may be applied with your fingertips, hands, or by wrapping a handkerchief around your head.
  2. Try heat therapy. In some people, headaches may be caused by constriction of blood vessels, and can be relieved by placing a heat pack on the back of the neck. Taking a hot shower may also help in relieving pain while also providing a relaxed feeling. When applying heat therapy, limit applications to 15 minutes with at least 2 hours of rest in between to prevent skin damage. See How to Apply Heat Therapy
  3. Use an ice pack. Cold therapy decreases blood flow and reduces muscle spasms and inflammation, relieving pain. A cold pack placed on the forehead, temple, or neck may be useful when treating neck pain and headache.2 People who have migraines may find ice packs bring more relief than hot packs.1 When applying cold therapy, limit applications to 15 minutes with at least 2 hours of rest in between applications to prevent skin damage. Watch Ice as Pain Relief: More Effective Than You Think
  4. Maintain good posture. Spending hours a day slouched at a desk or over a computer with forward head posture puts extra stress on the neck’s muscles and joints. This poor posture can eventually lead to neck pain and/or trigger headaches.3 Instead, keep the head in neutral position with the ears directly over the shoulders and hips, which more naturally balances the head on the cervical spine. In addition to maintaining good posture, try to take breaks from sitting and get regular exercise as tolerated. See How Poor Posture Causes Neck Pain
  5. Sleep, but don’t oversleep. A good sleep routine is important for overall good health. A lack of sleep can induce headaches or make an existing headache chronic in some people.4, 5 Some studies also show that sleeping longer than usual may cause tension headaches to occur or become worse.6, 7 Watch 3 Evening Tips for Sleeping with Neck Pain Video
  6. Find the right pillow. A suitable pillow supports the natural curve of your neck and may help reduce neck pain and headaches. While pillows can vary greatly by height, material, shape, and firmness, no one pillow is considered best for everyone. Choosing the right pillow for you depends on your personal preferences and head-neck alignment.8 Try different pillows to see which one helps your neck to feel the best in the morning. See Pillows for Neck Pain
  7. Keep a daily journal. Research suggests that writing out your emotions in a private journal may help relieve stress.9 Over time, keeping a journal may also help you to identify activities or foods that are triggering neck pain and/or headaches. For example, migraine triggers can be found in foods and food additives, such as chocolates, monosodium glutamate, nitrites, nitrates, caffeine, and alcohol.10 Migraines may also be triggered by certain types of light, smell, and/or sounds.
  8. Visit a physical therapist. A physical therapist can help formulate a treatment plan by incorporating physical therapy techniques, such as manual therapy, stretching, and/or exercise. Physical therapy may help reduce headaches and neck pain.11, 12, 13 It is also useful in strengthening the neck and back muscles for better posture and function. See Physical Therapy for Neck Pain Relief
  9. Get a massage. A massage therapist may help relieve pain in trigger points (tender nodules in the neck and scalp muscles) through different massage techniques.14 See Massage Therapy for Chronic Stiff Neck
  10. Try dry needling. A medical professional trained in dry needling may place thin, sterile needles into painful trigger points located in your neck and/or head. The goal of dry needling is to release tension in irritable muscles and their connective tissues, which might have been contributing to the headaches and/or neck pain. Some evidence suggests that dry needling may help bring relief from chronic tension-type headaches.15
  11. Consider acupuncture. According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, an energy imbalance or stagnation within the body may contribute to neck pain and headaches. Acupuncture is one method for trying to get this energy (called “qi”) to start flowing again. A licensed acupuncturist places ultra-thin needles at specific acupoints on the body, depending on the symptoms being experienced. While science has yet to prove that qi or acupoints exist, 16 many people have reported experiencing at least temporary pain relief from acupuncture.17 See Acupuncture: An Ancient Treatment for a Current Problem
You might be interested:  How To Treat Nerve Pain In Foot?

Try a combination of these tips to see what works best for your headache and neck pain. If your headache and/or neck pain occurs frequently or worsens over time, consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. A doctor can help formulate a treatment plan, which may also include medications.

Can neck and head pain be serious?

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 (attempt to expel air with the mouth shut and nostrils pinched tight) Seizures, slurred speech, loss of balance and blurry vision Unintended weight loss or nausea

See When Is a Stiff Neck Serious? 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 (such as from motor vehicle accidents or sports) must be considered as an emergency and treated without delay.

How do you know if neck pain is serious?

Overview – Neck pain is common. Poor posture — whether from leaning over a computer or hunching over a workbench — strains neck muscles. Osteoarthritis also is a common cause of neck pain. Rarely, neck pain can be a symptom of a more serious problem. Seek medical care for neck pain with numbness or loss of strength in the arms or hands or for pain that shoots into a shoulder or down an arm.

You might be interested:  How To Improve Heart Electrical System?

What infection causes headache and neck pain?

Overview – Meningitis is an infection and inflammation of the fluid and membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. These membranes are called meninges. The inflammation from meningitis typically triggers symptoms such as headache, fever and a stiff neck.

  • Most cases of meningitis in the United States are caused by a viral infection.
  • But bacteria, parasites and fungi also can cause it.
  • Some cases of meningitis improve without treatment in a few weeks.
  • Others can cause death and require emergency antibiotic treatment.
  • Seek immediate medical care if you suspect that you or someone in your family has meningitis.

Early treatment of bacterial meningitis can prevent serious complications.

Can stress cause neck pain and headaches?

Neck pain and stress – Given its proximity to the head, tension in the neck due to stress can cause muscle pain and headaches. Chronic neck pain also can cause fatigue, depression, and irritability. Also, when your posture is poor, such as straining to look at a computer or mobile device or hunching over your desk, undue strain occurs in the neck muscles.

What is the fastest way to cure neck and head pain?

Ease muscle tension – Tense muscles can trigger tension-type headaches. Apply heat to relieve tense neck and shoulder muscles. Use a heating pad set on low, a hot water bottle, a hot shower or bath, a warm compress, or a hot towel. Or apply ice or a cool washcloth to the forehead.

Is neck pain related to brain?

Signs Your Neck Pain Could Be a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) After a or work accident, you may experience delayed pain in different parts of your body. If you hit your head during the incident, you would probably expect headaches, some nausea, maybe some dizziness, brain fog, light sensitivity, and even fatigue.

  1. These are all very common signs of a, which, if not treated by a medical professional, can be very serious and cause permanent damage.
  2. A not-so-common symptom of a traumatic brain injury that many accident victims may not associate with concussions or a hard hit to the head is,
  3. Many accident victims experience neck pain days to weeks to months after a concussion or whiplash injury and do not realize it is a symptom of a traumatic brain injury.

In a study that tracked patients admitted to the emergency room for traumatic brain injuries, acute neck pain complaints were reported in 156 patients out of 922 patients. This reported neck pain was found to be directly related to the patients’ brain injuries.

Can heart problems cause neck and head pain?

Feeling Unsteady – What Causes Neck Pain And Headache These symptoms are frequently due to a heart attack or angina, especially if they appear suddenly and are accompanied by uneasiness, breathlessness or sweating. In the case of angina, they may disappear totally after a few minutes. Often these are mistakenly attributed to cervical spondylosis, toothache or muscular pains.

You might be interested:  What Does The Left Side Of The Heart Do?

What viruses cause neck pain?

Neck pain, or a sore neck, can be a regular symptom of the common cold or flu. In other instances, neck pain may be the sign of a potentially serious medical condition like meningitis. Knowing the difference can help you make the right choice if neck pain and cold symptoms co-occur. What Causes Neck Pain And Headache Brianna Gilmartin / Verywell

Who do I see for neck pain and headaches?

Head Pain – Headaches are probably the most common type of pain. Everyone has a headache now and again. But when your headache just won’t go away, or when it keeps returning (called chronic), you should see a doctor. Neurologists are the doctors who usually evaluate chronic headaches.

Pain doctors can also provide useful input. We help with headaches by addressing pain and sensitivity from problems with your neck as well as your nerves and other parts of the head. Interventional Headache Program The Interventional Headache Program, spearheaded by Yury Khelemsky, MD, offers a variety of procedures to decrease headaches and neck pain (which is closely related to many types of headaches).

Our team approach enables us to help you with headaches and facial pain.

How do I know if my neck pain is meningitis?

– Meningitis neck pain may feel like severe stiffness when you try to turn your neck or bend you neck forward. It may also feel like a deep, throbbing pain that extends from the bottom of your skull down into your upper back. This is caused by swelling located in the back of your neck, behind your skull, that you may be able to feel.

What does a brain tumor headache feel like?

What do headaches caused by brain tumors feel like? – Every patient’s pain experience is unique, but headaches associated with brain tumors tend to be constant and are worse at night or in the early morning. They are often described as dull, “pressure-type” headaches, though some patients also experience sharp or “stabbing” pain.

They can be localized to a specific area or generalized. They can be made worse with coughing, sneezing or straining. A headache caused by a tumor may respond to over-the-counter medications early in treatment but may become more resistant to medication over time. The brain itself does not have any pain receptors, but there are several mechanisms that explain why brain tumors cause headaches.

The most basic is that a tumor can raise your intracranial pressure (pressure inside the skull) and cause stretching of the dura—the covering of the brain and spinal cord. This can be painful, because the dura has sensory nerve endings. “The skull is basically a sphere with a set amount of tissue inside it.

Adding more tissue (a tumor or blood clot, for example) raises the pressure inside the sphere because the skull cannot expand to accommodate it,” says Dr. Lipinski. Also, tumors sometimes can occur in locations that block the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid—the fluid created in the brain that coats and cushions the brain and spinal cord.

“The increased fluid can also increase the intracranial pressure,” says Dr. Lipinski. Some people also theorize that stretching of blood vessels by a tumor could be perceived as painful, says Dr. Lipinski, adding, “It also is possible that certain tumors release inflammatory proteins (cytokines) that may contribute to headache.”

How long should a headache last before seeing a doctor?

Seek immediate medical attention if you’re experiencing the worst headache you’ve ever had, lose vision or consciousness, have uncontrollable vomiting, or if your headache lasts more than 72 hours with less than 4 hours pain-free.

When is it time to see a doctor for a headache?

See a doctor if you experience headaches that: Occur more often than usual. Are more severe than usual. Worsen or don’t improve with appropriate use of over-the-counter drugs.