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When I Turn My Head, It Hurts: Decoding the Cause and Finding Relief

Have you ever winced in pain from a sharp jab in your neck or a dull ache radiating across your head simply from turning your head? You’re not alone. This frustrating experience, often described as “headache with neck movement,” can stem from various causes. But fear not, Kinetik Chain Denver Physical Therapy is here to help you decode the source of your pain and guide you towards relief.

Common Culprits:

  • Muscle Strain: Our necks are intricate networks of muscles that stabilize our heads and allow for smooth movement. Overexertion, poor posture, or sudden movements can strain these muscles, leading to painful stiffness and sensitivity with head turns.
  • Cervical Osteoarthritis: Age-related wear and tear in the neck joints can cause inflammation and stiffness, making turning your head uncomfortable.
  • Nerve Impingement: Pinched nerves in the neck, often due to disc herniation or bone spurs, can irritate nearby tissues and cause pain that worsens with specific movements.
  • Cervical Migraines: These migraines trigger pain primarily in the neck and head, and specific activities like head turning can act as triggers.

Diagnosing the Source:

Our experienced physical therapists at Kinetik Chain Denver will conduct a thorough assessment, including:

  • Detailed history: Discussing your pain, its onset, aggravating factors, and any medical conditions.
  • Physical examination: Evaluating your neck range of motion, muscle strength, and posture.
  • Specialized tests: If needed, specific tests may be conducted to rule out underlying conditions.

Finding Relief:

Based on the diagnosis, your personalized treatment plan may include:

  • Manual therapy: Gentle mobilization techniques to improve joint mobility and reduce muscle tightness.
  • Therapeutic exercises: Strengthening exercises to improve neck muscle stability and control head movement.
  • Posture correction: Techniques to address postural imbalances that contribute to muscle strain.
  • Pain management: Techniques like heat therapy, massage, and modalities to alleviate discomfort.
  • Education: Learning proper neck care and movement strategies to prevent future pain.


Self-diagnosis can be tricky. Early and accurate diagnosis is key to effective treatment. If you experience neck pain with head movement, don’t ignore it. Contact Kinetik Chain Denver Physical Therapy today for a comprehensive evaluation and a personalized path to pain-free movement.

KinetikChain Physical Therapy

We Help People In Denver Quickly Recover From Pain Or Injury So They Can Stay Active In Their Favorite Sport/Hobby, Continue Exercising, And Get Back To What They Love To Do.


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