Efficacy of neck and head propel our whole physique one way or another. It is said that neck pain and headache are some of the top contributors to chronic pain worldwide. Having neck pain singly is quite troublesome. When headache adds to it, it often leads to concentration issues, severe pain, decreased head mobility, dizziness, and so on.

The number of neck pain and headache cases is hiking with the increasing number of online workers. Age doesn’t forge a boundary anymore. While general causes lead to tension headaches, Cervicogenic Headache, migraines, and cluster headaches are more serious ones.

Symptoms of Neck Pain and Headaches

The initial symptoms include a lessened range of motion in the neck. The pain often covers one side of the face or head, one portion of the shoulder and arm as well. Light and noise can be disturbing at this time which hampers daily activities. Certain movements or positions of the neck familiarly trigger headaches. Dizziness and visual disturbances are experienced. Pain behind the eyes stresses one’s vision.

How Neck Pain and Headaches Ensue Together

The interconnection between neck pain and severe headaches involves multiple pathways and pain mechanisms. The pathways and reasons usually differ depending on the related anatomical structures. Their roles are listed below.

Trigeminocervical Nucleus

The trigeminocervical nucleus, placed in the upper cervical spine, is the convergence of sensory nerve fibers from the trigeminal nerve and upper spinal nerves. These nerves not only transfer pain signals from the face containing the forehead, top of the head, eye, and temple area but also pain from sources in the neck such as discs, joints, vertebrae nerves, and muscles.

As a result, when a pain input from any one of the parts either neck or head reaches the trigeminocervical nucleus, it is elucidated deriving from the trigeminal nerves. Then it is discerned as pain in other portions related to the nerve.

The Dura Mater of the Brain

The brain’s dura mater, which is the outermost covering part, is exhibited to have direct connections to the ligamentum nuchae and rectus capitis posterior minor muscle at the joint of the head and neck. These suboccipital muscles and ligaments are located at the back of the head. Thus the mechanical traction like pulling or tension of these tissues may be the reason for the movement of the dura resulting in pains.  

Immune System

In cases of traumas, the immune system is considered to signal the brisk of pain-generating agents. This brisk results in an expanded level of inflammatory elements including interleukin-I, cytokines, and tumor necrosis factor in the bloodstream. So it is believed as a result, neck pain and post-traumatic headaches are caused. 

The Blood Vessels and Brain Tissues

Some Blood Vessels and Brain Tissues in the head are notably delicate to pain. For example, arteries, parts of the brain’s dura mater located at the base of the dural arteries as mentioned before, Venous sinuses and their tributaries, Cerebral arteries at the base of the brain, etc. Distortion, distension, or inflammation of these sensitive anatomies cause neck pain and severe headache.

Causes Behind Neck Pain and Headaches

Some primary headaches cause neck pain. On the other hand, the headaches generated due to any other underlying condition are known as secondary headaches. Neck pain and headaches usually originate from some medical conditions listed below. However, one’s physical activity also plays a major role.

Cervicogenic Headaches (CGH)

Cervicogenic Headache aka CGH generally starts as a minor dull ache in the neck and slowly emanates upward along the backside of the head. It mostly affects one side. This pain may often spread to the temple, forehead, surfaces around the eyes or ears. Usually, an underlying joint, disc, muscle, or nerve disorder in the neck causes this type of condition.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster Headaches are subtle but very painful. People with this headache encounter frequent attacks. It can last for weeks or even months. Some of the symptoms are

  • Penetrating, sharp burning pain.
  • massive tearing.
  • drooping eyelid.
  • light sensitivity.
  • tiredness

Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital Neuralgia is identified by painful, sharp, electric-shock-like sensations on the backside of the head, neck, and ears. It is a condition that arises when the nerves that run from the spinal cord to the scalp are blemished. It has similarities with migraines. Some common symptoms include

  • Pain behind the eyes,
  • tender scalp
  • stiff neck
  • sensitivity to light
  • painful, sharp stabbing sensations

Tension Headaches

Tension headache is a very common headache defined by mild to severe non-throbbing pain in the neck, scalp, forehead, back, and right side of the head. this common type of headache and neck pain is caused by tension, stress, emotions, or fear. Muscles of the scalp and neck become tight due to this pain.

Migraine Headaches

About 1 billion people worldwide are suffering from migraine headaches. A migraine is a persisting headache that causes mild to severe throbbing and pulsating pain on one side of the head. Most people feel them on the left or backside of the head.

Neck pain with migraine headaches is very common. One can experience neck pain before the migraine attack or during the attack. According to the researchers, neck pain is a symptom of migraines itself. One with migraine may also experience

  • nausea
  • auras
  • vomiting
  • watering eyes
  • severe, pulsating pain

Cervicogenic Headache

Herniated discs located in the cervical spine can precipitate neck pain and tension. This often results in a type of headache commonly known as cervicogenic headache. This secondary headache is induced in the neck and back of the head and slowly spreads towards the front of the head.

Cervicogenic headaches originate from anatomical problems in the neck and are often because of cervical vertebrae at the top of the spine, particularly the C2-3 vertebra.

However, it can be developed due to work pressures involving neck straining as well. some other medical conditions such as fractures, tumors, infections, whiplash, and arthritis of the upper spine. The following symptoms can make the situation awful.

  • A decreased range of motion in the neck
  • Pain around the eyes
  • Pain on one side of the head and face.
  • Pain in the shoulder and arm on one side
  • Intensified pain due to certain positions and neck movement.
  • Dizziness and blurred vision.
Condition Home Remedies Medications Alternative Therapies 
Cervicogenic Headache (CGH) 1.Avoid positions that can trigger the pain.

2.use a neck brace while sitting upright or sleeping in a chair.

3.find the right pillow for sleeping.

1.Tri-cyclic antidepressants.

2.Anti-epileptic drugs.

3.Analgesics including non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDs), selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors, and narcotic analgesics

4. Botulinum toxin


1.Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulators (TENS)

2. Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)

Cluster Headaches 1.Avoid triggering positions.

2.Deep breathing exercises 

3.Capsaicin cream



2. octreotide, an injectable unreal version of the brain hormone, somatostatin

3.local anesthetics

1. nerve blocks

2.sumatriptan or zolmitriptan nasal spray

3.oxygen therapy


Occipital Neuralgia 1.Apply warm compresses.

3.Use muscle relaxant techniques. 

1. Ibuprofen (Advil)

2. Antiepileptic

3. tricyclic antidepressants 

1. An injection of Lidocaine/steroid around the nerve root to calm the inflammation and desensitize the area

2. Chiropractic adjustment

Tension Headache 1.Have enough sleep.

2.Take breaks in between works


5. Physical therapy


1. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers including ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol)

2. Triptans

3. Prescription pain relievers such as naproxen (Naprosyn), ketorolac tromethamine (Toradol), or indomethacin (Indocin)

1.Seek help from a counselor or therapist. 

2. Biofeedback, and stress management

Migraine Headaches 1.Rest in a dark, quiet room.

2.Drink plenty of water.

4. Applying a cool wet cloth or ice pack on the forehead

5. Cognitive behavioral therapy

1.sumatriptan (Imitrex, Tosymra)

2. rizatriptan (Maxalt, Maxalt-MLT) 

3. aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others)

4. Injections of onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) about every 12 weeks help avert migraines in some adults.

1.Neuromodulation devices.

2. Single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (sTMS).

Cervicogenic Headache 1.Physical therapy

2.Deep breathing techniques.

3.Relaxation regimes


1.non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen

2. anti-seizure medications

3. antidepressants

1. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

2. Radiofrequency ablation

3. Nerve blocks

4. Neuromodulation

When Is Neck Pain and Headaches in Back of Head Serious?

Usually, it is better to go for a check-up if the neck pain and headache remain for more than one week. However, you need immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms alongside the common symptoms.

  • If the pain gets worse instead of going away.
  • Medications don’t help.
  • Numbness and chronic pain spread down one or both arms.
  • The traits of daily migraines or headaches change.
  • If the head pain is amplified by sneezing, coughing, bending, running, or Valsalva maneuver.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Extreme ‘thunderclap’ sensation in the head.
  • Nausea
  • Loss of consciousness, dizziness, and blurry vision.
  • Garbled speech, seizures, and loss of balance.
  • Experiencing fever alongside pain.

Prevention of Neck Pain and Headaches

These pains are never worth welcoming in our busy everyday life. Treatment options are available for each head pain. However, To keep the risks low, you can follow a few elementary steps given below.

Drinking a Lot of Water

Dehydration is one of the latent causes of many usual headaches. It can also change how a person acts, feels, or thinks. Journal of Evolution in Clinical Practice published one study notifying that drinking water may not reduce the time range of headaches but it helps a lot to make the person feel better.

Make a Diet Change

Some food trigger one’s migraine problem such as processed foods, alcohol, red wine, chocolate, caffeinated beverages, etc. people who have migraines can notice which food amplifies their pain. According to that, try to avoid those as much as possible.

Exercising and Stretching

Exercise helps to maintain a healthy body and develops better circulation. Try to do moderate exercises like riding a bike or fast walking for at least 30 minutes a day. Yoga and stretching reduce muscle tension and improves blood flow in our body as well.


Acupuncture is a piece of traditional Chinese medicine where the practitioners use small needles into the area of the skin. The goal is to stimulate the body’s energy without causing any pain. Try to find a licensed practitioner if you’re interested.

Practice Better Posture

Try to keep your shoulders in a straight line over your hips and ears directly over your shoulders. Keep your spine straight as well while sitting or standing. Try the exercises available to improve body postures.


Massaging helps to reduce stress and tension. You can choose a professional masseuse for regular massage therapy. However, you can do self-massaging as well. Follow the suitable one for yourself. Try to massage the pressure points to get the highest output.

Sleeping and Taking Breaks

One of the major causes of a headache and neck pain is the lack of sleep. A good schedule of sleeping is very important to enhance the stress management and work of your body. However, too much sleep can also increase the possibilities of a migraine or neck pain.

Getting 7-9 hours of sleep is adequate to reduce the risks. Try to sleep in a good position. Also, continuous work increases fatigue which can result in neck pain and headaches. Try to take breaks during work and rest frequently. Stand up, walk and stretch your arms and shoulders if you’re stuck in you sit for too long.

Workplace Customization

It is very important to keep your workplace friendly. Try to adjust your chair in a position where your knees will be a bit lower than your hips. Pace the monitor at eye level. Adjust the lighting in a way that it soothes your eyes instead of bothering them.

Final Thoughts

It is not possible to get complete relief or prevention from neck pain and headache. However, prevention techniques can lower the pain and possibilities a lot. Also, the treatments regarding the issues have made the betterment a matter of time nowadays.

The doctors at Delray Disc and Spine offer conventional treatments after examining each case with great care. The patients who have already tried the therapies are quite satisfied with the non-surgical remedies. Set up a basic consultation right now to get the best service possible.

Skip to content
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap