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The Link Between Neck Pain and Headaches? Very Close Indeed

written by / May 10, 2021
The Link Between Neck Pain and Headaches

Migraines are quite frequent. Namely, 1 in 7 people around the globe suffers from migraine headaches. Of those, 4 in 5 will also experience neck pain.

Sufferers usually have migraine-associated neck pain on the same side as their migraines. Sometimes the pain and stiffness in the neck can originate from the nerves in the so-called trigeminal nerve complex situated near the first three vertebrae of the neck.

But aside from migraine-causing neck pain, poor posture and tense neck muscles are also proven migraine triggers.

The link between migraines and neck pain seems obvious — hence why several known treatments used for neck pain can also diminish migraine pain, such as:

That said, neck pain can be associated with other types of headaches, including:

  • Tension headaches 
  • Cervicogenic headaches

A tension headache is felt on both sides of the head, usually with dull, throbbing neck pain. The cause of tension headaches, in the vast majority of cases, is stress.

On the other hand, neck problems are the main cause of cervicogenic headaches, as the name suggests. With this type of headache, head pain originates from injuries and misalignments of the neck vertebrae; the cervical spine; or stiff neck muscles. 

During a cervicogenic headache, you can experience other symptoms like:

  • limited neck movements
  • one-sided headache
  • pain behind the eyes

Cervicogenic headaches are mainly treated by physical therapy

That said, narrowing down the leading cause of a headache is not an easy task. However, one thing is for certain — caring about your neck can help prevent and alleviate future headaches.

Marija Kovachevska is a content writer at, Biochemist and Activist. After obtaining her BSc in Biochemistry and Physiology she changed her microscope for content research tools and continued researching in the fields of Medicine, Biology, and Communication. Her insatiable curiosity flare drove her to become a “content scientist writer” as she likes to say. Reality fascinates her and facts and statistics are a must-have feature in her articles. Fluent in English and French, she is a volunteer and communication associate for several non-profit organizations. French culture and handcrafting are her passion, but in her free time, she indulges in long walks and traveling, or as she likes to say “experiencing the inexperienced.”

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