Is There a Link Between Neck Pain and Headaches?

Is There a Link Between Neck Pain and Headaches?

Headaches and neck pain are two very common types of pain. There’s also more of a connection between these conditions than you may realize.

At The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care, board-certified spine surgeon Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, FAAOS, offers comprehensive treatment services for neck pain and its causes.

Dr. Bo can determine if there’s a link between the underlying cause of your neck pain and your frequent headaches, so you can finally find long-lasting pain relief.

The link between neck pain and headaches

The strong link between neck pain and headaches starts with the causes of each condition. You can experience both pain in your neck and certain types of headaches due to:

Additionally, if you have existing neck pain, it can increase the likelihood you’ll develop a headache. If you have an existing headache, you may also develop neck pain. For this reason, it can often be difficult to determine which came first – your headache or your neck pain.

There is also a pain condition known as a cervicogenic headache, which describes head pain that originates in the neck.

Understanding cervicogenic headaches

A cervicogenic headache is a secondary type of headache and often results from underlying disorders that affect your cervical (upper spine), such as:

Cervicogenic headaches can feel like a migraine because pain is usually intense on one side of your head. The difference between a migraine and a cervicogenic headache is the symptoms. Migraine sufferers often experience visual disturbances, nausea, and vomiting while those with cervicogenic headaches don’t.

Those with cervicogenic headaches tend to experience head pain and a significant decrease in the range of motion they have in their neck.

When to seek treatment for headaches and neck pain

Any type of persistent or unexplained pain deserves a diagnostic evaluation with an expert like Dr. Bo. Because headaches and neck pain can be a warning sign of arthritis or other serious conditions, it’s important that you book an appointment at our office when you have neck pain or headaches you can’t treat on your own.

As part of your treatment plan for recurrent headaches and neck pain, Dr. Bo may suggest:

It’s also important that you’re mindful about your posture when you’re working at a desk or lounging around the house. Too much stress on your neck muscles due to poor posture can increase your risk for additional neck pain and headaches.

Surgery options for neck pain

Surgery may be necessary to relieve chronic neck pain and the headaches it causes. However, Dr. Bo will try nonsurgical therapies before considering you a candidate for surgery.

He may suggest minimally invasive spine surgery if you have underlying conditions that contribute to head and neck pain, such as:

If the frequency of your headaches and neck pain is increasing, schedule a diagnostic evaluation today. You can call The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care office nearest you or book an appointment online. 

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