Neck Pain Causing Headaches?

Docklands Health can help access if your neck pain is causing headaches!

Whether you are an office worker or a laborer neck pain causing headaches can affect you. The focus of our clinic is to build a trusting relationship with our patients so they can seamlessly flow through the healthcare process and get back to feeling their best.  

For appointments call (03) 9088 3228 or book online.


Is your neck pain causing headaches?

The simple answer is it is unlikely, but potentially yes. Current scientific evidence is lacking in the area of specific neck dysfunction being the cause of headaches. Most of the science around headaches is based on tension type, cluster and migraine headaches. These kinds of headaches are not related to the neck. Neck pain can be associated with these headaches but is most likely a due to the headache itself, not the cause of it. 

Cervicogenic Headaches are defined as headache that are specifically due to neck stiffness and dysfunction in the bone, joint or soft tissue of the neck. This is a true neck pain causing headache as the headache is a consequence of the neck pain. Cervicogenic headaches can only be diagnoses when a specific movement or a tender spot in the neck can be made to reproduce the headache. 

Pillows and posture.

Most people understand the importance of posture for a healthy, pain free body. Excluding the pelvis the head weights the most our of any part of your body. Another interesting fact is that for every 2.5cm your head is forward on your shoulders it adds 4.5kgs of weight onto your neck. So with a large amount of weight hanging forward on your neck it’s no surprise people get sore. In today’s highly technology driven society it is virtually impossible to avoid your head going forward. Eventually this posture wears down on your body. What happens is you put a great deal of pressure on the back muscles of your neck trying to hold your head up. This added pressure on relatively small muscles creates a system in which things can go wrong, causing discomfort, pain and potentially headaches. If after a long day of having your head hang forward off your shoulders you go to sleep on a pillow that is uncomfortable one can see how this might exacerbate a persons neck discomfort.  


Other causes of headache you didn’t know

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a salt that is used to preserve foods. One might expereince headaches after eating foods with high levels of MSG. Chinease foods often have high levels of MSG so it is worth paying attention roughly half an hour after eating salty foods to see if you experience a headache or face pain. 

Tooth decay is a major contributor to headaches. It is also something that is often overlooked by healthcare practitioners, except dentists. Often headaches from the jaw will refer to the temples on the sides of your head. It is the role of doctors in Australia to diagnose ailments and illnesses, however they don’t always get it right straight away. 


Pain signalling from the neck to the head

The trigeminal nerve is a bundle of neurons that travel from your brain to the upper part of your neck and then back to the brain again. Neurons are the bodies mode of transmitting information from one area to another. This provides functions like the feeling of pain, cold, hot, vibration, ect to the brain so we can feel and be human. The complicated part about the trigeminal nerve is that it provides pain sensation to the face (eg trigeminal neuralgia) but also has a pain sensing portion in the upper part of the neck. Strictly speaking this means the trigeminal nerve could be causing you to FEEL pain in the face/ forehead when it is being aggravated and the problem is in the neck. This is a very complicated concept for even the worlds best neurologists and comes down to a chicken vs egg scenario where it is currently impossible to tell if the face pain is causing neck pain or if the neck is causing facial pain. 


Spine Ears Eyes (SEE) causing headaches

The “SEE” principle says that the spine (specifically the neck), ears and eyes must work together in order to keep us humans upright in our environment. The spine helps us keep steady and move around, the ears hold our balance centers and the eyes help us see our position in the world relative to everything else. Sparing the details of this just know that these 3 systems should be working well together and that if some of the systems isn’t working well it effects the other 2. So it’s important to have your spine, ears and eyes checked to ensure that isn’t what is causing your headaches.


How we can help? Diagnosis

First and foremost a health practitioners role is to diagnose what is causing the patients issues. After the diagnosis a management plan can be made. At Docklands Health we are lucky enough to have a range of healthcare providers who can communicate with one another about patient diagnosis, bringing together a range of skills and experiences all into the one clinic.  

Docklands Health

Docklands Health, located on Collins St.

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