It is not uncommon to have a headache and neck pain at the same time. If you’ve been experiencing neck pain along with your headaches, there’s a good chance the two are related.
Most headaches don’t actually stem from pain in your brain tissue or skull — these tissues don’t have nerve fibers that allow you to feel pain. Most headaches are related to input from nerve fibers in your scalp. These nerves are connected to other parts of your body, including your neck muscles. Sometimes when a problem in your neck stimulates a nerve that leads to your scalp, it can cause a headache.
• Stress. Tension headaches are often a result of stress, which can cause you to tense the muscles in your neck. A tension headache, also called a muscle-contraction headache, results from stiff, contracted muscles in and around the head. In addition to headache, neck pain and pressure are common symptoms of a tension headache.
• Posture. When the head and neck are in an awkward position for a prolonged period, like when you’re balancing the phone between your ear and shoulder, you can experience both head and neck pain. Sleeping with inadequate head and neck support, such as on an airplane or with an overly flattened pillow, can also lead to poor posture and associated head and neck pain.
• Poor lighting. When you are reading or doing other work without enough lighting, it can lead to eyestrain and stiffness in your scalp and forehead muscles, then to a tension headache and neck pain.
• Gum chewing. Believe it or not, vigorous gum chewing can strain the muscles in your head and neck and be another cause of tension headache and neck pain.
• Migraine headache. A migraine headache is an intense headache that’s thought to be related to the irritation of blood vessels in the brain. Sometimes, neck pain and stiffness are signs of an impending migraine headache.
• Cluster headache. Cluster headaches are severe headaches that typically strike on one side of the head and tend to happen in batches, or “clusters,” around the same time of day for weeks or even months. Cluster headaches are often accompanied by tenderness in the neck.
• Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. TMJ disorders are conditions affecting the jaw and neck that are often due to excessive jaw clenching or poor jaw alignment. Not surprisingly, TMJ can lead to both headaches and neck pain.
• Meningitis. Meningitis is a serious, potentially life-threatening, infection of the meninges, the delicate tissue that encases the brain. Symptoms of meningitis often include headache, neck stiffness, and fever.
Post-traumatic headache. Trauma or an injury to your head and neck during a car accident, for instance, can lead to lasting headache, neck pain, and shoulder pain
Medical doctors generally treat neck pain headache symptoms with medications, such as beta-blockers, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Regularly taking some of the most popular painkillers on the market [paracetamol, aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen six or seven days per week over a two-year period] is linked to a much greater risk of stroke and heart attack from higher blood pressure, according to research from a large American study.
Powerful drugs can numb your nervous system so the pain doesn’t register. While these approaches may be convenient, they can cause adverse effects and kidney or liver damage. Worse, they don’t correct the underlying cause of the headache.
“Non-drug treatments can be very effective in making any headache less severe and incapacitating,”.
• A minimum of 8 hours sleep is enough for a person to stay active and healthy all day. Fixing a bedtime will avoid oversleeping.
• Close your eyes, cup them with the palms of your hands, and apply light pressure for 2 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if your vision is blurry for a few seconds when you finish.
• Massage the temples, shoulders, back of the head, and neck, or any other area where you feel the tension. Tense areas are easy to recognize because they feel tight and hard.
• Drink herbal tea. Many herbs, such as peppermint and chamomile, are said to have calming properties. Of course, the simple act of sipping a hot beverage from a mug is also psychologically calming, so be sure to go by whatever feels best.
• Acupressure: is helpful for some people. There are pressure points that when pressed gently for a of couple minutes can provide relief.
• Chiropractic Care: Patients who suffer from neck pain headaches usually prefer chiropractic adjustments, along with other chiropractic care methods including massage and trigger point therapy. These methods can either be done alone or in combination with one another to realign the skeletons and eliminate the cycle of pain. It can also help to release muscular Depression that could bring about moderate to severe levels of pain.
Patients who suffer from neck pain headaches are recommended to undergo several sessions to find effective relief and treatment from their condition. This comes as a result of reducing the amount of nerve irritation and facilitate in muscle relaxation. For a more effective long-term treatment plan against headaches, chiropractors recommend regular exercise, stretching, proper posture, and relaxation techniques to help alleviate the pain and symptoms of this condition