Headaches are often associated with musculoskeletal abnormalities or disorders in the neck and shoulders. Neck pain occurs in about 40% of migraine sufferers and 22% report neck pain with headache.
Problems of the musculoskeletal system can cause or contribute to headache, and once these underlying disorders are addressed the headaches tend to ease. Common problems include:
- A tension headache is almost always triggered by excessive muscle tension in the upper back, shoulders, neck and face.
- Research has found that irritated or inflamed nerves in the neck can refer pain into the face and scalp, causing headache. Typically the pain throbs in the base of the skull and sometimes flashes into the face, particularly the forehead. The nerves can be irritated by muscle tension, bad posture, trauma and viral infection.
- Whiplash – is when the head is violently snapped backward and forward, commonly experienced in rear-end car collision. The muscles and ligaments of the neck are strained and may be torn.
- Trauma caused by injuries sustained from, for example, falls or sporting accidents. The muscles, ligaments or bones can be affected.
- Wear and Tear is the aging process. As we get older and get less active the muscles and joints can stiffen up, emulating a tension headache.
Other things which people attribute their headaches to include stress, anxiety, depression, overwork, poor posture, insomnia, fatigue, constipation, hypertension (high blood pressure), oral infection, sinus infection, over worked eye muscles, uncorrected sight imbalance, drug reactions, alcohol, migraines and jaw clenching.