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That dull ache behind the ears, or the throbbing at the temples – no matter how your headache is located, it’s an unpleasant experience. Have you ever wondered what affects a headache’s location or unique symptoms? If you’re guessing that neck pain is a contributing factor, you’re right. Here’s why.

While there can be many different causes of headaches – stress, exhaustion, injury, allergies, neck trauma and more – it’s interesting to know that many of them are related to cervical spine anatomy, and more specifically, the upper part of the neck. These kinds of headaches are known as cervicogenic headaches, meaning the pain comes from the neck.

Your spin has seven cervical vertebrae, with the top three linking to three nerves that move upward into the skull and can trigger pain signals that are sent to the brain. Headache locations can vary depending upon which nerve is aggravated, which is why you’ll feel a pounding sensation behind the eye or in the forehead today, or pain in the temples next week. Pinched nerves can mean symptoms like pain, tingling, itching, burning, even a combination of all of these miserable afflictions.

The good news is that chiropractic techniques like manipulation and mobilization have been shown to reduce pain and improve function. Pairing manipulation with exercises designed to strength the neck and upper back seem to be the most effective treatment.

If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, consider visiting Dr. McSweeney instead of popping another pain reliever.