Do My Headaches Come From My Neck?

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You probably don’t have the time, but if you were to consult the International Society for Headache Research, you would see a category of headache known as ‘cervicogenic headache’. Cervicogenic means essentially something that is caused by the neck and the tissues of the neck. So we do know that neck issues can cause headaches, but how common is this? In my experience, it is more common than most people, and possibly even doctors, expect.


If you were to consult with Mr Nikolai Bogduk, one of the world’s leading experts in the microanatomy of the human nervous system; he would inform you that there are substantial overlaps between the ‘sensory nerve pathways’ of the neck and the ‘sensory nerve pathways’ of the head. These known overlaps discovered by Mr Bogduk easily allow for a problem in the neck to be felt in the head. Similar to someone with sciatica who feels pain in the leg, but the problem is deep in the lower back. Meanwhile, on the street, if you were to interview the average headache or migraine sufferer, a meaningful percentage of them would tell you their headaches/migraines start in their neck. Or at least they would report that when they have a headache/migraine, they feel neck pain too. If you asked enough of these individuals, you would soon see that they also have far more week-to-week neck pain than the average civilian. So these exciting and probably quite reliable testimonials about the connection between neck pain, neck problems and headaches make for an interesting read. Assuming, of course, you are either a headache nerd like me or, more probably, if you have headaches/migraines yourself.

The traditional medical explanation for headaches like migraines is that they are caused by changes in blood flow to the brain, which is most definitely a feature of migraines and possibly tension headaches. Interestingly, migraines may coincide with changes and blood flow rather than being genuinely caused by changes and blood flow. It is also possible that the changes in blood flow to the brain could be triggered by neck issues and may relate to similar connections to those that Mr Bogduk has discovered in his research.You have managed to read this somewhat dense blog to this point, well done! But you probably didn’t come here to read about nerdy neuroanatomy. Most likely, you have come here to have a question answered. Could my headaches/migraines/cluster headaches come from my neck? And the answer is a most definite and resounding YES! In addition, wondering whether a problem causes headaches in your neck, you may be wondering whether there’s anything that can be done. The answer to that question is also a resounding YES!

In the pain management trenches where I live, work and obsess, we find that most headache/migraine sufferers have a significant number of deep knots in the muscles at the top of the neck. They also have stiffness, locking and inflammation of the small weight-bearing joints and the top of their neck. Many also have a limited range of motion in their spinal joints. We find that many of these people experience a reduction and elimination of their headaches once these issues are addressed. For the few who find that these releases don’t work over time, most still get excellent results by reducing stress and improving their lifestyle, making life kinder to their necks.

chiropractor, fix migraine, headache, migraine, migraine help, migraine treatment, neck, neck adjustment, neck and migraine, neck pain, neck pain treatment, neck soreness, neck treatment, physio, stop migraines, tight neck, tight neck treatment

The traditional medical explanation for headaches like migraines is that they are caused by changes in blood flow to the brain, which is most definitely a feature of migraines and possibly tension headaches. Interestingly, migraines may coincide with changes and blood flow rather than being genuinely caused by changes and blood flow. It is also possible that the changes in blood flow to the brain could be triggered by neck issues and may relate to similar connections to those that Mr Bogduk has discovered in his research.You have managed to read this somewhat dense blog to this point, well done! But you probably didn’t come here to read about nerdy neuroanatomy. Most likely, you have come here to have a question answered. Could my headaches/migraines/cluster headaches come from my neck? And the answer is a most definite and resounding YES! In addition, wondering whether a problem causes headaches in your neck, you may be wondering whether there’s anything that can be done. The answer to that question is also a resounding YES!

In the pain management trenches where I live, work and obsess, we find that most headache/migraine sufferers have a significant number of deep knots in the muscles at the top of the neck. They also have stiffness, locking and inflammation of the small weight-bearing joints and the top of their neck. Many also have a limited range of motion in their spinal joints. We find that many of these people experience a reduction and elimination of their headaches once these issues are addressed. For the few who find that these releases don’t work over time, most still get excellent results by reducing stress and improving their lifestyle, making life kinder to their necks.

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