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You may not give it much thought when you’re struggling through the pain of a headache, but the location and symptoms of a given headache may be affected by outside factors. If you’ve ever experienced headaches that vary in severity and location – a dull ache behind the ears and along the back of your skull or a throbbing temple, for example – there may be something specific to blame. Neck pain can be a common culprit behind headaches.

From Neck Pain to Headache

Headaches are the result of all kind of things, including allergies, stress, exhaustion, neck trauma and more. Interestingly, many of these are related to cervical spine anatomy and more specifically, they’re linked to the upper part of the neck. This kind of headache is known as a cervicogenic headache, which means the pain comes from the neck.

Your spine has seven cervical vertebrae, and the top three are connected to three nerves that move upward into the skull. These nerves can trigger pain signals that go directly to the brain. The location of your headache will vary depending on which nerve is aggravated. That’s why your headaches can change in severity and location, from a pounding sensation behind the eye or in the forehead today to pain in the temples next week. If you have a pinched nerve, you’ll also experience symptoms like pain, tingling, itching, burning, or a combination of all of these.

Treatment Options

If your headaches are stemming from neck pain – which is an unfortunate side effect of our tech-heavy society – there is some good news. You don’t need to pop a pain pill to reduce the pain. Chiropractic techniques like manipulation and mobilization have been shown to both help reduce pain and improve function. The most effective treatment tends to be a combination of manipulation and exercises designed to strength the neck and upper back. Dr. McSweeney here in Reno is happy to demonstrate these exercises, and she can offer chiropractic treatments that will address your current neck pain.

If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, stop suffering and schedule an appointment with Dr. McSweeney today.