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Headaches: They Could Be All In Your Neck

Headaches can often be related to postural changes and tight muscles. Learn more about how changes in your neck alignment can possibly cause a headache.


Headaches come in many forms – migraines, cluster, tension, chemical, and reactionary. Headaches can really ruin your day. The pain leads to fogginess, lack of concentration and focus.

Some headaches can be caused by any of the following:

  • Stress on the structures of the neck
  • Changes in posture from working at a desk, computer, sitting and or reaching forward activities
  • heavy lifting activities
  • increased tension in the neck and shoulder muscles
  • Previous neck injury from an auto accident, fall or other trauma

Any and all of these may be the cause of,  or contribute to persistent headaches. How do you know if your headache may be all in your neck?

First take a look in the mirror. Are your shoulders pulled up to your ears and do you feel tension in the muscles at the base of your neck? Does it appear that your chin is jutting out or your head is not resting directly on top of your shoulders? Does it appear that you head is tilted more to one side than the other? All of these postures indicate that you may have some stress in your neck, shoulders and upper back. Many of these stressed muscles connect directly to the back of your head and or around your ears. This stress puts pressure on the pain sensitive tissues and nerves in this area leading to headaches.

What can you do if you see theses things in the mirror? Try the following exercises:

1. Sit in a supportive chair pull your chin back and sit up tall making a “double chin.” This will stretch the muscles in the back of the neck. Repeat 5 times.
2. Keeping your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears, pinch the shoulder blades together. Squeeze and hold for 5 sec. Repeat 5 times.

Perform these exercises frequently throughout the course of the day. This may help slowly stretch out some tight tissues and take stress of the structures that lead to a headache. 

If you have not tried physical therapy for your headache you could be missing the link to relief. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mike Bottaro July 27, 2012 at 09:17 AM
This is really informative and I am printing this for my clients. A lot of injured people do not realize that headaches often emanate from these sources. What office are you in?
Susan Hammond July 27, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Good Morning Mike. I am at Tru-Care PT in EG. My site is listed in the Patch directory for more information. Glad you have some folks who can use the information. Sue

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