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When Neck Pain Becomes A Headache…

Neck pain is one of the most common symptoms we treat, but many of our patients are unaware of the causes and symptoms that it can stem from. For many of our patients, neck pain can be debilitating and cause headaches, burning/tingling down into the arms and fingers, and soreness/stiffness. This can make it difficult to pinpoint where the original source of pain is and what the underlying cause could be. Maybe you have had tension headaches, a pinched nerve in your neck, pain in the back of the head, or you want a migraine fix.  If you want to learn more about your neck and/or headache pains from a neck pain specialist in this post we will discuss how to determine the cause of your signs and symptoms and how to prevent it and keep it away.The 21st century goes hand-in-hand with the astronomical rise of technology. Nowadays, tablets, cellphones, TV’s, computers, and even smart-watches dominate our daily lives. We are accompanied by our cell phone wherever we go, our emails are sure to follow, and we – more often than not – end the day lounging in front of the TV. Here’s the problem, though: all this tech is actually having a damaging effect on your neck and shoulder health. Why? Well, looking down at our phones, arching our necks at the TV screen, trying desperately to avoid the glare on our tablet screens – these all add up. Our muscles are stretched and moved in peculiar ways, all of which take their toll on the joints. We get headaches and experience neck pain a lot more frequently as we increasingly handle our technological devices incorrectly.

One common type of headache is the cervicogenic headache. This headache can turn into a migraine if bad enough so they might be difficult to distinguish between the two. In a nutshell this type of headache just means that it stems from the neck. It typically follows the pattern of a horn that starts at the base of the skull (back of the head) and comes around the side of the head up to the eye. It can cause tension in the surrounding muscles and lead to stiff neck. You can also suffer from sensitivity to light, noise, nausea, etc. So you may have these symptoms but where did they come from?

Cervicogenic headaches can be a result of a pinched nerve in the neck or pressure on the nerves because of poor joint mobility or movement and tight and stiff muscles.  These many times occur because of poor posture and can lead to tension headaches where you feel pressure, tension, or dull pain in the forehead or pain at the back of the head or neck. As mentioned above this could be due to technology and the improper use and position we tend to use these devices in. For example, many people that type all day resort to forward head posture in order to see closer or better. This causes tension in the back of the neck and there becomes an offset between muscles overworking and underworking. It can also allow nerves to get pinched and result in a numbness/tingling sensation. Other causes derive from degenerate conditions such as degenerative disc disorder or osteoarthritis. Whiplash is another common cause of this type of headache.

How Do You Treat Your Headache?

Your individual needs will be different than your friends or coworkers so you should have an individual plan as well.  If you are looking for a migraine fix there can be many causes of migraines with musculoskeletal issues being one of them to be addressed.  Although headaches can keep you from the most simple activities, here are some common techniques to help alleviate pain, decrease symptoms, and get rid of them for good.

1.  Watch your PC and phone posture. What is your posture like when you use your computer? Do you have a desktop or laptop? These are very serious considerations when it comes to neck and/or shoulder pain. If you’re using a desktop, make sure your screen is in alignment with your eyes, thereby avoiding forward head movements and incorrect posture which could lead to pain or knots in your shoulder and neck. If, on the other hand, you’re using a laptop, avoid lying down when you’re typing or watching Netflix. This particular posture forces your head forward, thereby placing immense pressure on your neck muscles as they are pushed into an unnatural position. Rather, use a desk if you can. And try to limit the time you sit in front of your PC to chunks of around 20 minutes. In addition, make sure that your phone posture is monitored. Never stoop, and always try to keep your phone at eye level with your neck and spine aligned. Always stretch after using technologies like these for long durations of time.  

2. Neck and Shoulder Exercises and Getting Stronger.
 With permission from a physical therapist or sports medicine doctor working on strengthening cervical muscles to decrease forward head posture, improving stability in the thoracic spine to maintain and improve postural position, and stretching the front of the shoulder (pecs) will open up and release tension. 

3. Sleeping Habits. 
The way you sleep often directly affects the muscles in your shoulders and neck. Incorrect sleeping habits are one of the biggest culprits in shoulder and neck pain. Sleeping with too many pillows places stress on your neck muscles and actually puts your back and neck out of alignment, causing pain. Try sleeping with a pillow that evenly aligns your spine with your neck. It may take some getting used to, but it’s worth it. Also, sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees is incredibly effective for relieving neck and shoulder pain. Why? Because stress is no longer placed on those two areas, and the weight of the body is evenly distributed along the spine and legs which eventually works it way up to the spine and neck. Try doing this and we’re sure you’ll see fantastic changes.  

4. Physical therapy 
is the most effective way of improving how you move and tackling your headaches and neck pain head-on. Through our Free Discovery Visit We offer a unique opportunity for you to come in, talk to one of our professional physical therapists, create a plan, and be given options to fix your neck pain…all for FREE! Just give us a call or fill out a form on this website and we will set up a time for you to come down. Don’t let neck pain ruin one more day of your life – try our tips today!

If you are not quite sure you want help yet and just want a little bit more information to decide please download our free report ” 7 Ways To Stop Neck Pain” from effecting Work, Sleep, Or Causing Headaches by clicking on the image below.


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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