Headaches Caused by a Neck Problem

Headaches are a widespread health issue, affecting millions of people around the world. From mild to severe, headaches can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life. While some may experience only occasional headaches, many people have frequent and chronic headaches.

A study has shown that adolescents often suffer from headaches and neck pain. Prolonged sitting in static positions, such as at a computer, can be a contributing factor to neck pain and headaches in adolescents. 

Headaches caused by a neck problem are often referred to as cervicogenic headaches. It typically originates from the neck and radiates up into the head, and can be confused with other types of headaches such as migraine. These headaches are caused by a misalignment of the joints, muscles, or ligaments in the neck, which can lead to muscle tension and irritation of the nerves in the area. 

Can Neck Pain Cause Headaches?

Yes, neck pain can cause headaches. This is because the neck is connected to the head, and pain in the neck can cause a tension headache. When neck muscles are tight or strained, they can cause a band of pain around the head. This can lead to a headache, which can range from a dull, constant ache to a throbbing sensation. It can also be accompanied by a stiff neck.

Headaches caused by neck pain may be more intense when the head is moved in different directions or when pressure is applied to the neck. The pain can also worsen with physical activities such as bending, lifting, or turning the head.

To help reduce neck pain, it is important to maintain good posture, use proper ergonomics when working, and take regular breaks. It is also important to get enough rest, exercise regularly, and practice relaxation techniques. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe medications or physical therapy to help ease neck pain and associated headaches.

Headaches That May Cause Neck Pain

Headaches and neck pain can often be linked due to common causes, like tension, stress, or muscle strain. Headaches that may cause neck pain include tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches.

  • Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and are caused by tightness of the muscles in the head and neck. People who suffer from tension headaches may also experience a stiff neck and tenderness in the muscles of the neck.
  • Migraine headaches are a type of recurring headache that is usually felt as a severe throbbing pain behind the eyes. People who suffer from migraines may also experience neck pain and stiffness, as well as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Cluster headaches are a rare type of headache characterized by severe and sudden pain on one side of the head. The pain may radiate to the neck and upper shoulder, and is often accompanied by a runny nose and tearing eyes.

If you are experiencing neck pain along with a headache, it is important to seek medical attention. Your doctor can help diagnose the cause of your symptoms and recommend the best treatment plan for your condition. Connect with the top spine specialist in Delray Beach Fl for your spine-related problems. 

Cervicogenic Headache

Cervicogenic headache is a type of headache caused by disorders of the neck. Oftentimes, the pain from a cervicogenic headache will feel like a dull ache in the back of the head, that may radiate to the forehead or temples.

Symptoms of cervicogenic headache include a steady, dull pain on one side of the head or face, along with tenderness and tightness in the neck and shoulder muscles. Other symptoms may include dizziness, vision changes, and difficulty concentrating.

The cause of cervicogenic headache is usually related to an injury or disorder of the neck, such as a herniated disc or arthritis. Other causes may include poor posture, whiplash, muscle tension, or nerve compression. Treatment for cervicogenic headache typically involves physical therapy, pain medications, muscle relaxants, and lifestyle changes. Surgery may be recommended in cases where other treatments are not effective.

How to Relieve Headaches from Neck Pain

Headaches from neck pain are often caused by tension or muscle strain in the neck. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help relieve the pain and tension.

  1. Take a break 

If you’ve been sitting or standing for long periods of time, make sure you get up and move around every hour or so. Take a short walk, stretch your neck and shoulders, or do light exercises to relieve tension.

  1. Massage 

Massaging your neck, shoulders, and head can help relieve tension and muscle strain. Use gentle circular motions and focus on areas that feel particularly tense.

  1. Good posture 

To improve your posture, refrain from slouching or holding your head forward for long periods of time. Make sure your spine is supported when sitting and relax your shoulders. You can also use a lumbar support pillow to help maintain a neutral spine position.

  1. Apply heat or cold 

You can use a heat pack, a warm wet towel, or an ice pack to help relieve tension and pain. Apply heat or cold for 15-20 minutes at a time.

  1. Relax 

Relaxing your body and mind can help reduce tension and pain. Try deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation for a few minutes each day

  1. See a doctor 

If your headaches from neck pain are severe or don’t go away after trying these methods, it’s important to see a doctor. They may recommend other treatments, such as physical therapy or medications.

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Consult a Spine Doctor to Get the Right Diagnosis and Treatment 

If you are searching for the the best spine surgeons in South Florida, look no further, than Dr. Matthew Hepler.

Dr. Hepler is a leading spine surgeon in South Florida and successfully treats a variety of spinal conditions. He is a Board Certified Spine Surgeon with 20 years of experience and leading expertise in the operative and non-operative treatment of the spine. He specializes in both pediatric and adult spine surgery.

Dr. Hepler offers services at two convenient locations: 

If you have a spinal condition requiring surgical treatment, contact us or call us at 561-345-1780 for an evaluation and treatment plan tailored to you. 


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.