Neck Pain and Headaches

Do you experience neck pain at or around the base of your skull while also experiencing headaches? Perhaps you feel discomfort in the back of your head or even all the way around to your eyes? These are common patterns of pain referral caused by a cervicogenic headache.

What is a Cervicogenic Headache?

Cervicogenic headaches occur when structures in the upper neck become irritated or sensitized. This is a result of an increase in tightness and restriction in the upper neck muscles, such as the suboccipitals, and the cervical spine joints. 

What causes it?

Many of us work in a prolonged sitting position, typically at a desk on a computer, or perhaps even driving. One common sustained poor posture is allowing the head to remain forward while sitting, which results in an increase in tension in the neck muscles. Alternatively, cervicogenic headaches can also be due to trauma such as whiplash. 

Fortunately, whether the cause was sudden or gradual, this condition is treatable. A chiropractor or physiotherapist can assess which joints in the neck are not moving as they should be, as well as which muscles are inflexible. Often with this condition, a muscle imbalance is present between the front and back of the neck, called upper cross syndrome. In addition to hands-on treatment, appropriate exercises to assist with correcting any imbalances will be prescribed. Proper workstation ergonomics will also be discussed. 

Neck Flexion Test

Here’s a quick test you can perform on your own at home. Roll up a towel and place it under your neck while lying down. Then tuck in your chin, and lift your head up while your neck maintains contact with the towel. Time how long you can comfortably hold this position. If you find this task difficult to perform, and can only hold it for a few seconds then you may need to work on posture, muscle imbalances, and the joints in the neck. 

Get Help

If you suffer from neck pain with headaches and found this test difficult, consider making an appointment with one of our chiropractors or physiotherapists to go through an evaluation and determine a treatment plan to help. Contact our Byward or Glebe CURAVITA clinic that’s closest to you to book an evaluation and start feeling your best!