Headaches and Neck Pain

There are numerous types of headaches, some are caused by the neck.  Here are three possible types:

The neck is responsible for supporting the head while allowing for multidirectional movement and serves as a path for nerves to travel from the spine to the brain. Pain can occur when any part of the neck is injured or strained. Neck pain is often associated with headaches and can occasionally be a cause of headaches.

There are numerous types of headaches and if we know where it’s coming from, it is easier it is to treat!

Headaches and Neck Pain Physio Treatment
Physio Treatments for Tension Headaches

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and are caused by increased muscular tension in the neck. It may feel like a tight band around the forehead creating a tight pressured feeling in the head. Tension headaches are often associated with high levels of stress as well as poor posture and repetitive movements.


Migraines are also very common and can feel similar to tension headaches but the pain is more severe. The pain is usually located on one side of the head and typically causes throbbing pain and stiffness on the same side as the migraine.  Migraines are neurological in nature and are often associated with other symptoms such as seeing bright lights or dots, blind spots in your vision, changes in speech, ringing in ears, temporary vision loss and changes in smell or taste.

Physio Treatments for Migraines
Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic Headaches

cervicogenic headache is an example of referred pain. It’s a pain that develops in the neck and is felt up into the head and is often a result of neck trauma or infection. Arthritis, neck sprains, whiplash injuries or pinched nerves in the neck can often lead to cervicogenic headaches.  Poor sleeping positions and postures may also lead to this type of headache due to prolonged strain of the joints and muscles in the neck and upper back.

You may feel the pain starting at the base of the skull and travelling up one side of the head, with stiffness and discomfort with the movement of the neck.

Occipital Neuralgia

Occasionally a pinched nerve in the neck can trigger pain in the head and this is known as occipital neuralgia. This pain is similar to that of an electric shock or stabbing pains in the head. Pain may also be felt at the base of the skull and behind the eyes. This type of headache can often be confused with migraines.

Physio Treatments for Occipital Neuralgia

How Physiotherapy Can Treat Headaches Caused by Neck Pain

Tips to Relieve Headaches from neck pain

Here at Williams and Locke Physiotherapists we focus on accurate, detailed assessments to determine the type and cause of your headache which allows us to provide effective treatments.  Should your case be spinal in origin, then we will use a variety of techniques for example manual therapy, soft tissue mobilization, neural mobilization, posture correction and ultimately strength training of the neck musculature to relieve pain and restore normal function to the spine.

Headaches caused by neck pain can be incredibly uncomfortable. Williams & Locke Physiotherapists is here to help you alleviate the headache pain caused by neck-related problems. Click below to book an appointment online today.