Neck Pain and Headaches

It’s the end of the day and your head is pounding and your neck is aching. Was it the work you were doing, the stress you were feeling, or the way you were sitting at your desk or in your car?

Your neck is an intricate structure with many different muscles and nerves. The joints in your neck provide movement while the discs in between the vertebra give you support and shock absorption. When these structures are working well, it’s a well oiled machine that can do almost anything. However, in today’s world of technology, sitting for long periods of time at work, while driving or while watching TV, weakens, tightens, strains and/or irritates your neck muscles, joints and nerves.

Even the simplest movements can cause short periods of neck pain. Some of us may actually be experiencing chronic neck pain. Simple, repetitive movements can lead to prolonged muscle tightness, which can take time to show symptoms. Muscle strains, on the other hand, happen with quick jolts such as an injury or lifting something too heavy.


How Neck Pain Can Go to Your Head

Headaches can stem from tightness in the neck muscles at the back of your neck, which is brought on by a forward-head posture and rounded back as seen with prolonged, static postures. This static position can cause the muscle to strain, tighten and/or mal-align, which then radiates to your head, thus, causing a headache.

A forward head posture can also affect blood flow to your scalp, resulting in a headache, or eye pain. If you’re experiencing pounding headaches at the back of your head, then neck muscle tightness and limited joint movement may be causing it.


How do I know if I need to see a physical therapist about my neck pain?

Since many headaches stem from problems with neck movement and posture, try to stand up against a wall with your back and see if you can get your head back against the wall without looking upward. How far away from the wall is the back of your head? If you have a forward head posture, then your head will be quite far from the wall. This is a sign you need some help with your posture. At this point, it may be a good idea to call us and set up an appointment to see one of our physical therapists.