If you suffer regular headaches, your neck may be the problem, even if you don’t have neck pain! It’s a common cause of headache that’s often overlooked, resulting in many patients suffering much longer than need be.
At Osteo For Families, we’re trained in assessing and treating neck related headaches!
Headaches from the neck often have pain starting at the base of the skull and traveling to the temple, forehead or eye region. Pain can also be present in the eye/head region alone. Pain can be exacerbated by neck movements or postures and is often reduced by applying pressure to the base of the skull. You may wake in pain, or it may come on over the day.
It’s been well established that the neck can refer pain to the head due to the shared nerve supply and pathways of the upper neck, face and head. When exasperated by stiff joints and muscles in the neck, these nerves can by mistake cause pain in the head. This is called referred pain.
Our Osteopaths will carefully evaluate your neck and headaches to rule out any other causes for headaches and to establish which particular neck structures may be causing your pain. If neck structures are to blame for your headaches we will usually find:
- Pressure on these specific structures may even reproduce your head pain
- Tight muscles and stiff, painful joints in your neck
- Reduced muscle endurance in the deep stabilising muscles of the neck
- A stiff mid back with reduced motion in the upper back & neck
Once the neck is properly diagnosed as the cause of headache, it can be treated quite easily by an experienced Osteopath. We may use a combination of gentle manipulation or mobilisation of the neck joints and massage or stretching to reduce muscle tension and spasm. We may also train you in particular exercises for the deep muscles of the neck.