Do you regularly suffer with neck pain and headaches? If so, you likely know first-hand just how disruptive they can be to your daily routine. But did you know that some headaches are caused by issues in the neck? It's called referred pain, which means it is caused from one area but travels to another. If you are experiencing neck and head pain on one side that worsens when you move your neck, and you feel like the movement of your neck has reduced, you might be dealing with cervicogenic headaches1. These headaches originate in the neck and can be caused by a variety of factors. That's why having them checked out by a chiropractor or other healthcare provider is always a good idea. So, what can you do to relieve cervicogenic headaches? The good news is there are simple things you can do to help alleviate the discomfort. Start feeling better today with these 6 tips: 1. Be mindful of your posture Maintaining proper posture can reduce tension in the neck and shoulders, which can contribute to cervicogenic headaches. Try to avoid looking down for extended periods of time and focus on keeping your body in an upright and neutral position when sitting or standing.
2. Intentional movement It's important to get tailored guidance from your chiropractor or other healthcare provider with specific exercises or stretches to help with your symptoms. However, keeping your neck and body mobile can benefit in the first instance. Try incorporating slow and controlled movements of your head in all directions throughout the day.
3. Manage stress When stress arises it can cause tension throughout the body, contributing to cervicogenic headaches. Taking time out to relax and practice stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can be highly beneficial.
4. Apply heat or cold Applying heat or cold to the area won't solve the underlying problem, but it can provide temporary relief. If your neck pain has recently started and your neck feels warm or swollen, applying something cool to the area can help reduce inflammation and pain. Alternatively, applying heat can provide a soothing effect if the discomfort persists.
5. Watch out for triggers Certain activities can trigger cervicogenic headaches, such as reading or working on a computer for long periods of time. Take frequent breaks and change position regularly to reduce strain on your neck and shoulders.
6. Consider chiropractic care Chiropractic care is a natural option to help alleviate cervicogenic headaches. Following an initial assessment, tailored adjustments can be effective in reducing tension in the neck and improving the function of the spine.
By incorporating these tips, you should be able to find some relief for your cervicogenic headaches so why not give them a go and see how you get on? If your symptoms persist or gets worse*, please feel free to get in touch for guidance, we are here to help.
*Whilst the majority of headaches are not sinister, there are some that need urgent attention. If you experience a headache which you have not experienced before such as an abrupt, severe headache (the most painful you have ever had), a headache with fever, stiff neck, confusion, seizures, double vision, numbness or weakness to your arm or leg, experience a headache after a head injury, or a chronic headache that is worse after coughing, sudden movement or straining, or you are over 50, then we would recommend that you seek medical attention immediately by calling 999 to rule out any serious conditions.
References: 1. Khalili, Y, Ly, N, Murphy, PB. Cervicogenic Headache. (2022). StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507862/
The content of this blog is for educational purposes and is not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.