Can Neck Pain Cause Headaches?


Problems in the neck can be the underlying cause of headaches for many patients. So really, the underlying issue is causing both the neck pain and the headaches. In this article, we will address some of the common causes of headaches. Then we will discuss the answer to the question “Can neck pain cause headaches?” by explaining an underlying problem in the neck that may be at the root of your condition. Finally, we will consider a natural way to get rid of the neck pain and the related headaches. 

Some Underlying Causes of Headaches 

To say that there is one single underlying cause of headaches would be a stretch. There are many different factors that lead to the onset of a headache. Let’s look at some of the most common factors that may leave you holding your head in your hands. 


The most common type of headache is tension headaches. Stress causes your muscles to tighten, especially in the neck. That is why many headaches (and even migraines) feel like they start in your neck or between your shoulders and gradually climb until your head hurts. 

Neck Trauma 

Many patients who get headaches on a regular basis will acknowledge some form of head or neck injury in the recent past. Whether you were injured in a car accident, while playing sports, or even if you just tripped, you may have experienced a misalignment that could be causing the pain. It may also be resulting in your headaches, as well will discuss in a few moments. 

Sleep Problems 

Sleep can be related to headaches in a number of ways. First of all, not sleeping enough is a trigger for many types of headaches. Second, sleeping with your neck twisted can cause the underlying neck problems that lead to headaches. 

Allergies and Sinus Problems 

Having an allergic reaction or infected sinuses can create the pressure that causes headaches. However, a stuffy nose could also be a symptom of a migraine, so you may not be experiencing an allergy or sinus problem. The runny nose may be a symptom of your headache condition. 

These are just a few of the many possible causes of headaches. Not let’s take a closer look at the neck and see why so many headaches also present with neck pain

Can Neck Pain Cause Headaches? 

According to one study, about 75% of migraine patients experience neck pain either before or during the headache phase. The vast majority of tension headache patients also include neck pain as a precursor or symptoms of their headaches. So what is the link? It may have to do with tiny misalignments in the top two vertebrae and how they impact the central nervous system. 

When the C1 and C2 become misaligned, they can affect the brainstem. Inhibited brainstem function may relate to many headache conditions, including migraines. Another factor is blood flow. When the top bones in the neck slide out of place, even by a fraction of a millimeter, blood flow to the head is impacted. This can lead to changes in blood flow to certain parts of the brain. Headaches can result. 

The other thing to think about is the nerves that connect to the head. They are the reason that you feel anything up there at all. All these nerves pass through the upper cervical spine. So it makes sense that a misalignment could irritate one of these nerves and cause pain. For these and many other reasons, it just makes sense to look at the neck when headaches become a regular occurrence. 

If you believe that your neck pain and headaches are related, where can you turn to for natural, drug-free relief? We would like to introduce you to a specific form of chiropractic care that focuses on just the right bones in the neck. 

Upper Cervical Chiropractic for Natural Neck Pain Relief 

Upper cervical chiropractic targets the top two bones in the neck. Since this is the location where the nerves of the head come from, it makes sense that a misalignment in this region could be causing head pain. This specific form of chiropractic care is very precise. X-rays allow for measurements down to hundredths of a degree. These measurements will enable a practitioner to develop an accurate adjustment for you personally. Then the correction is administered gently, with no popping or cracking of the neck. It is safe and gentle for patients of all ages and health levels.  

Once the upper cervical spine becomes properly aligned, this should help with neck pain. The surrounding soft tissue will gradually stabilize and help hold the bones in place, so while you may need a few adjustments initially, you can later switch to occasional checkups. That also makes upper cervical chiropractic cost-effective, which is rare when it comes to pain relief. 

You also get the central nervous system benefits that result when you have a free flow of blood to the brain, and nothing is inhibiting the function of your brainstem. For these and many other reasons, upper cervical chiropractic has been able to help many patients with neck pain and headaches. 

If you struggle with chronic neck pain, especially if you also get headaches, this may be the natural care for you. To learn more, contact an upper cervical chiropractor in your area to schedule an appointment. It may be your first step on the path to finding drug-free relief.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.