Headaches are a nuisance no matter what they are caused by. However, stabbing neck pain paired with a nasty headache is sure to knock you off your feet for the rest of the day.
What causes neck pain and headache? Sometimes neck pain is caused by sleeping in an incorrect position, other times it might be caused by a pinched nerve. Other factors that can cause neck pain include physical and mental stress, herniated discs, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and many other conditions.
Ultimately, the most effective way to treat headaches caused by neck pain is to target the cause of the neck pain, itself. If you’re plagued by nagging headaches and aching neck pains, you’ve come across the right article. Keep reading to learn how to ease the aches and pains caused by neck pain.
Get Chiropractic Adjustments
Sometimes neck pain is caused by issues with the spine, which in turn, can cause throbbing headaches as a result. A chiropractor can realign your spine, taking pressure off your spinal column, which then can alleviate some, if not all, of the neck pain you are experiencing. If your neck pain is caused by the spine, you should start noticing relief within two to three visits to the chiropractor. If you’re also experiencing back pain and overall stiffness, it may be wise to rule out this cause.
Visit A Physical Therapist
If you’re experiencing debilitating neck pain, a physical therapist can be of great help. In physical therapy, you will be taught how to activate, strengthen, and stretch the muscles around the painful areas. If the neck pain is caused by an underlying issue like a herniated disc or pinched nerve, physical therapy can bring you significant relief by exercising the affected muscles.
Try Dry Needling
Dry needling is great for stimulating muscles and encouraging more blood flow. When you are feeling intense neck pain, stimulating the neck muscles through dry needling can help soothe the painful sensations felt in that area. Dry needling also alleviates tension, which can help ease your headaches.
Acupuncture For Neck Pain
Like dry needling, acupuncture can wake up muscles and improve circulation. However, acupuncture focuses on natural healing by waking up the body through acupressure points that as a result, encourage healing throughout the entire body. Acupuncture is especially helpful in relieving mental and physical stress, which can be a subsequent cause of neck pain and headaches.
Try Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is incredibly soothing for both the body and mind. Massaging away sore and tense muscles can help promote pain relief and overall relaxation. Massage therapy for neck pain can ease away stiffness and tension, albeit temporarily. Massage therapy for neck pain can serve as a good supplement to other forms of treatment.
Practice Good Posture
Good posture will help prevent neck pain, back pain, headaches, muscle stiffness, and more. While it won’t make the existing neck pain go away, it can definitely prevent the symptoms from worsening. Try lengthening your neck, slightly tucking in your chin, and bringing your shoulder blades together - as this will straighten out your posture. Check in with your body throughout the day to readjust your posture and prevent any slouching that can exasperate symptoms.
Sleep on a Firm, Structured Pillow
For those heavy sleepers who smack their face into the pillow and pass out, it may be a good idea to invest in a firm, structured pillow. Pillows that are too soft may not provide enough support, causing your neck to contort to unnatural positions. However, a pillow that aligns with the natural curvature of your head and neck can support you right where you are feeling the most tension and pain.
Get Ample Sleep
On the subject of sleep - getting the right amount of sleep is crucial for preventing headaches. Too much sleep, similarly to too little sleep, can cause tension headaches due to your body remaining in the same position for too long. Finding the right window of REM sleep will prevent pain and also help your body heal any existing soreness.
Teach Yourself to Sleep on Your Back
Sleeping on your back can help prevent your body from twisting and turning into uncomfortable positions that inevitably cause pain, tension, and discomfort. Sleeping on your back aligns your spine to rest in a neutral position, fully supporting all curves of your body. This keeps you from exasperating any existing pain and stiffness, while also preventing any new discomfort from arising.
Use an Ice Pack
Cold therapy can be very helpful in easing away some of the neck pain, as a cold compress can reduce swelling and inflammation. This can help loosen tight muscles, which in turn will release pain and tension. Ice your neck for 15 minutes increments, wait 15 minutes, and then follow up with a heat pack for another 15 minutes.
Heat Therapy for Neck Pain
Like a cold compress, a heat pack can loosen tight muscles and relieve stiffness. Alternating between hot/cold therapy can be very helpful in releasing some of the neck pain you’re experiencing. Heat therapy can increase blood flow to the painful region which can be very helpful in aiding pain relief. Press a heated compress onto the affected area for 15 minutes at a time.
Use Over-The-Counter Medication
While using any OTC medication, like Ibuprofen, should be a temporary solution to any long-term neck pain, it can provide significant relief in the meantime. Ibuprofen reduces inflammation in the body, easing pain in sensitive areas like the neck. It will also alleviate accompanying headaches, making it a good option for short-term relief.
Conclusion - 12 Ways to Treat Headaches Caused by Neck Pain
Living with constant neck pain and headaches? Nagging aches, pains, and accompanying headaches can really bring you down. Finding the cause of the neck pain can be quite difficult, as it can originate from multiple sources. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways we can alleviate the headaches and neck pain. From visiting the chiropractor to getting acupuncture, there are various roads to relief! Try one or more of these 12 tricks to help get you on your way to recovery.