Headaches caused by the neck or back

headaches caused by neck pain

With the increasing time people spend sitting and using computers and electronic devices, additional to the ever-increasing pace and stresses of our daily lives, we are seeing an increase in patients suffering from headaches.

A very common cause of headaches we find at Sydney Health Professionals is cervicogenic headaches, which is caused by dysfunction of the upper cervical spine (neck).  It is believed that irritation to these joints can affect the communication of the nerves from the upper neck with the nerves in the head, which we find typically causes referred pain at the back of the head, which may spread to the top of the skull and sometimes to the forehead, temple or behind the eye. This type of headache may also cause nausea, poor concentration and irritability.

Types of headache

It’s important to know that cervicogenic headaches may be confused by other common types of headaches such as:

Migraine headaches – these headaches are believed to have a wide range of triggers. They include hormone fluctuations, eating habits, flashing lights, noises, stress and tiredness. Some characteristics of migraine headaches may include photophobia, phonophobia, nausea and/or vomiting, one-sided irritation and pulsating quality.

Tension-type headaches – these seem to be the most prevalent of all types. They are usually the result of emotional stress and spinal stress from poor workstation ergonomics and posture. Common characteristics include frequent episodes (at least 10 episodes occurring in a month for at least 3 months), occurring on both sides of your head, pressing/tightening quality.

What can your Osteopath do for your headaches?

It is important to determine exactly which type of headache you have. Your Osteo will take an extensive history and thorough examination to assess what is causing your headaches. We always assess whether there is a sinister cause of your headaches and exclude it before we continue with any care.

Once your Osteopath determines the type of headache and its causes they may do one or more of the following:

  • Perform adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your nervous system.
  • Perform soft tissue manipulations to reduce muscular tension.
  • Education on posture, ergonomics and exercises.

Make an appointment today to see one of our Osteopaths and discuss how we can create an individualised plan to get you back to optimum health.

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