If you suffer from persistent, recurring headaches, it may be your neck that’s the culprit – you don’t even have to have neck pain!
Cervicogenic or neck related causes of headache are commonly overlooked which can leave patients suffering for years, juggling paracetamol and heat packs.
Osteopaths are well versed in assessing and treating neck related headaches. Headaches caused by the structures of the neck are often one-sided, with pain usually arising at the base of the skull and referring to the temple, forehead or eye region. However pain can be present in the eye/head region alone. Pain can be aggravated by neck movement or sustained postures and is often eased by manual pressure to the base of the skull or stretching and massaging the neck.
It has been well demonstrated that structures in the neck can refer pain to the head. This is because there is considerable overlap in the spinal cord between the nerves that start in the top of the neck (C1-C3) and those that provide sensation to the face and head (CNV). If these nerves are irritated by stiff joints and muscles in the neck, they can cause pain in the head, face and jaw.
Our Osteopaths will thoroughly assess your neck and headaches. They will ask specific questions to rule out other causes of headaches. They will then feel and assess the structures of your neck to decide if they may be causing your headache. If the neck structures are involved, we will usually find:
- Tight and painful structures in your neck (joint and muscle)
- Pressure or tension on specific structures of your neck will reproduce your head pain
- A forward head posture and stiff mid to upper back
- Reduced motion in the upper joints of the neck
- Reduced endurance in the deep muscles of the neck