It’s not uncommon for an issue that causes neck pain to also cause headaches. In fact, there’s a specific type of headache called cervicogenic headaches that originate in the neck. However, figuring out what exactly is causing your neck pain and headaches can be difficult. Fortunately, physical therapists can help you learn the cause of your headaches and treat your neck pain and headaches effectively.
What issues can cause both neck pain and headaches?
Cervicogenic headaches are headaches that originate in the neck. They occur when a neck problem causes pain to radiate into your head, which then feels like a headache. One medical study reports that up to 20% of the patients who visit medical facilities for chronic headaches may have cervicogenic headaches.
A few of the issues that do trigger neck pain and headaches include:
- Atlanto-occipital joint injuries — This joint is located between the base of the skull and the first cervical vertebra. An injury to this joint can cause pain to refer into both the head and neck.
- Herniated cervical discs — This condition occurs when spinal discs in the neck are damaged. Specifically, the disc deforms or allows its inner material to poke out, or herniate. In turn, this can irritate nearby cervical nerves.
- Neck muscle injuries — There are many muscles that connect the neck to the head. These muscles can be overstretched or develop other painful injuries, which can lead to pain referring into the head.
- Cervical osteoarthritis — As our bodies age, the structures in our necks can wear out. One result of this natural wear and tear can be inflammation in the neck, which is called cervical osteoarthritis.
Do physical therapists offer treatment options for neck pain that’s causing headaches?
Physical therapists offer treatment techniques that can treat both neck discomfort and headaches. They can even address neck problems that are triggering chronic headaches. Some of the techniques that can help treat these linked issues are:
- Soft tissue mobilization intended to ease tension in tight neck muscles.
- Myofascial release that can break up painful myofascial trigger points that have formed in neck soft tissue.
- Therapeutic exercises that focus on strengthening and stretching muscles in your neck and shoulders.
- Ergonomic recommendations designed to help reduce your risk of future neck problems.
Armor PT can help treat your neck pain and headaches
Does your neck pain feel like it’s flowing into your head and causing headaches? Our team at Armor Physical Therapy is prepared to help you treat neck issues that can lead to headaches. We can perform a free screening on your neck to determine which neck problem you have.
Then, our physical therapists can construct a unique physical therapy plan for you, and this plan can offer benefits like:
- Reduced neck pain.
- Decreased headache frequency.
- Reduced likelihood of developing neck issues or headaches in the future.
Contact us today for more information about all the treatment options we offer or to schedule an initial appointment.