Neck Pain with Headache

Neck pain with Headache Causes and Remedies

We will be looking out for the Causes and Remedies of Neck pain with Headache. We will try to relieve your Headache with neck pain.
There can be two conditions: Headache due to Neck Problems and Neck pain Due to Head problems. There is a difference between the two.

Headache due to Neck issues is called Cervicogenic Headache. 

Cervicogenic means that headache has an origin from the Cervix i.e. Neck. After originating from the neck, some of the pain is referred to the head area giving rise to the headaches. Here is the difference between a Cervicogenic headache and a Migraine headache which originate in the brain.

It is fairly common to experience Headaches with neck pain and it has various causes also. Let  us take a look at these causes one by one

Headache due to Neck Issues (Cervicogenic Headache)

These headaches usually affect only one side of the head and are caused by:

Neck Muscles Stiffness

  • Muscles of the neck support our head, excessive and continuous usage of these muscles leads to their fatigue and these symptoms.

Poor Posture

  • If you work at a desk or are a student, surf mobile a lot, you may unknowingly pose your neck in an awkward way which then causes muscle fatigue.
  • Sleeping in an awkward way, Sleeping on a chair, or sleeping while sitting may also increase the risk of neck muscle fatigue due to bad posture.

Trauma to the neck

  • Injury to the neck due to any cause, for instance, Falling down, Whiplash injury, Sports injury, etc.
  • The trauma can stretch the muscles, tendons, and nerves around the neck causing these symptoms.

Bone conditions of the cervical spine

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the inflammation of bone tissue.
  • Prolapsed disc: The disc is the cartilage between two bones of the spinal cord. Due to heavy forces on the neck (from the head eg. in a Coolie) these discs may prolapse/Herniate out from their normal position and may cause nerve compression surrounding it and hence giving rise to these symptoms.

Nerve compression

  • One of the causes of nerve compression is the prolapsed disc.
  • Other causes of nerve compression can be trauma to the neck or shoulder.
  • The nerve pinching cause characteristic pain in the surrounding area of the pinched nerve.

Apart from all these, the pain from occipital neuralgia also originates in the neck and spread to the head. Occipital neuralgia is caused by irritation of the occipital nerve.

Remember, All these causes of neck pain ultimately lead to Referred pain to the head causing Headache.

Look at this detailed article about Neck Pain on Right side Causes and Treatments

Neck pain due to Head issues

There are some common Head problems that can also cause referral of pain to the surrounding neck. These include:


It is characterized by throbbing pain in the Head and Neck area. Along with that one may also experience sensitivity to light, nausea, and vomiting.

Migraine can be identified by yourself by identification of the triggers that cause it

The most common triggers for migraine are (Study)

  • Weather
  • Stress
  • Menstruation
  • Caffeine Withdrawl


Encephalitis and Meningitis

These are the inflammation of the brain and its coverings respectively 

The stiffness of the neck is the classical feature of Meningitis. Meningitis occurs due to an infection in the brain. The infection can be due to Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi, or TB.

Other Features of meningitis include 

  • Fever
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Rash may develop
  • Drowsiness
  • Convulsions

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor for further testing and treatment.


Stress and anxiety

  • Stress and anxiety cause headaches. These headaches may refer to the neck causing neck pain in the headache.


  • Not getting quality sleep is another cause of headaches. We all need that our brain needs at least 7-8 hours of continuous rest to function properly. Thus lack of sleep cause headaches.
  • The already fatigued neck muscles also need rest. The lack of sleep is another insult to them.

Temporo-Mandibular Joint related Headache

  • Temporo-Mandibular Joint is the joint between our jawbone and skull.
  • Due to any Traumatic or Degenerative disorders of the Temporo-Mandibular Joint Pain and soreness in the surrounding area occurs. This pain may manifest as a Headache with Neck pain.

Look at this detailed article about Neck Pain on Right side Causes and Treatments

Remedies for Headache with Neck Pain

Let us discuss some treatments and home remedies for Neck pain with a headache.

Home Remedies for Neck Pain with Headache

The most gold standard and reliable remedy for headaches with neck pain

This remedy is an acupressure method. It is done as follows:

  • First of all, get comfortable and keep breathing deeply throughout the 2 minutes acupressure session.
  • Place your thumb in the space between your eyebrows. Put pressure and Massage 15-20 times in an upwards direction.
  • Then Approximate the center of your head, Place your fingers or thumb on that point and press this point 15-20 times.
  • Remember to keep breathing deep.
  • Now Gently Press the back of your neck with both hands. Keep pressing on the neck and the space where the neck blends with the shoulders (The Traps)
  • You’ll Start to notice a decreased sensation of the headache now.

Other Remedies for headaches with Neck pain are:

Apply Heat

  • Use Heating Pad to apply heat to the sore neck muscles.
  • Take a Hot water Bath.
  • You can also use warm moist towels.

Ask someone to massage the Paining neck muscles for you

  • Neck massaging gives instantaneous relief from the ache.
  • Massaging improves blood circulation and aids the healing process.

Neck Massage

Use Ice-Packs on the inflamed areas of the neck

  • If you have redness over the area, the Ice-Pack would work best for you as it will reduce the inflammation and hence pain.

Exercise and stretch your muscles gently 

  • Exercising and Stretching relieve the tension that builds in the muscles due to excessive and prolonged work. Exercise also Opens Blood Flow channels and thus aiding in the healing process.
  • Exercising also helps to deal with neck mobility problems in the long run.

Neck Exercise

Have a Cervical Orthopedic Neck support Pillow to support your neck while sleeping

Try to reduce stress and other sources of headaches

  • Take frequent breaks from work.
  • Try Neck and Shoulder stretching exercises in-between.


Reduce the weight of your backpack if it’s too heavy

  • Holding up a Backpack over your shoulders for a long time could Strain and fatigue the neck muscles.

Treatments for Neck pain with Headache

  • Try Over The Counter Medications such as Ibuprofen, and Paracetamol.
  • For migraine patients, Triptans are the group of medications preferred for example Sumatriptan, Rizatriptan, Naratriptan, etc.
  • Try attending a Physiotherapy session. You will start to feel better after 2-3 Sessions.
  • Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.
  • If that doesn’t help either, Escalate to a doctor for further treatment.

Look at this detailed article about Neck Pain on Right side Causes and Treatments

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