Headaches With Neck Pain

A wide range of mild and severe conditions can cause headaches with neck pain. This immensely annoying combination can significantly interfere with a person’s daily life.

Headaches With Neck Pain Symptoms

In the majority of cases, headaches with neck pain symptoms are mild and nothing to be worried about. They include neck muscle stiffness, decreased range of motion, dizziness, etc. Conservative treatment options like painkiller medications, heat packs, and bed rest generally help overcome them.

However, the following symptoms indicate a serious underlying condition that requires consulting a doctor at the earliest:

  • Neck stiffness along with persistent headache and/or high fever
  • Radiating pain and numbness along the face or arms
  • Weight loss due to unknown reasons
  • Mental instability including loss of vision, slurred speech, lightheadedness, seizures
  • Constant feeling of vomiting
  • Headache experienced after doing exercise, bending, sneezing, coughing, sexual activity

Neck pain and headache triggered by an injury or trauma

Headaches With Neck Pain Causes

Headaches with neck pain causes can be diverse, with those arising from a neck issue generally of more concern than vice versa.

A few examples comprise:

Cervicogenic Headache (CGH) Starting as a mild pain in the neck, a cervicogenic headache radiates up from the back of the head, generally affecting only one side of the head. The pain may be experienced in the temple, forehead, and region surrounding the eyes & ears. It’s usually the result of a problem involving a spinal disc, joint, muscle, or nerve issue in the neck.

Occipital Neuralgia This condition is described by intense, painful sensations experienced along the back of the neck, head & ears. It’s caused by an injury or irritation to the occipital nerve, which runs through the scalp of the head. As is the case with CGH, the pain is generally felt on one side only.

Headaches With Neck Pain Diagnosis

By analysing the symptoms and conducting a physical examination, healthcare professionals can get a brief idea of the reason behind the headache with neck pain.

For example, by physically manipulating the head & spine, if the symptoms seem to go away, then it’s an indication of a cervicogenic headache.

After the physical examination and assessment, imaging scans like MRI are usually carried out to evaluate the neck’s tissue, bone & nerve structure. This is done to ensure there is no physical deformity causing the headache with neck pain.

Headaches With Neck Pain Treatment

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