Head & Neck Pain

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Head and neck pain may begin as a neck problem that progresses and begins to send symptoms up to the head. Or, the reverse may occur. It’s important to obtain an accurate diagnosis before pursuing treatment.

When a Headache is Caused by a Neck Problem

When a neck problem causes headache, the condition is typically chronic and can vary in type. A cervicogenic headache (CGH) is characterized by a dull ache in the neck that radiates upward along the back of the head, typically only affecting one side. Pain may spread to the temple, forehead, and the area around the eyes and/or ears. The cause of CGH may be an underlying disc, joint, muscle, or nerve disorder in the neck.

Occipital neuralgia is characterized by sharp, painful, electric-shock-like sensations felt in the back of the head, neck, and ears. Pain is usually only felt on one side and may be caused by irritation or injury to the occipital nerve.


When Head Pain Causes Neck Pain

A few types of headaches that can cause neck pain include tension headache, migraine headache, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) headache, and hemicrania continua.

Causes of Head and Neck Pain

Causes of neck pain may include:

  • Muscle strains
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bone spurs
  • Herniated discs
  • Auto injury that leads to whiplash injury
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Meningitis
  • Cancer

Causes of head pain may include:

  • Acute sinusitis
  • Arterial tears
  • Blood clot within the brain
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Brain AVM
  • Brain tumor
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Chiari malformation
  • Concussion
  • Dehydration
  • Dental problems
  • Ear infection
  • Encephalitis
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Glaucoma
  • Hangover
  • High blood pressure
  • Influenza
  • Intracranial hematoma
  • Medications
  • Meningitis
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Overuse of pain medication
  • Panic attacks and panic disorder
  • Persistent post-concussive symptoms
  • Pressure from tight headgear
  • Pseudotumor cerebri
  • Stroke
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

Treatment Options for Head & Neck Pain

At Westcare Clinics, healthcare practitioners treat patients experiencing head and neck pain with joint and soft tissue injections, pain management techniques, and occupational medicine.

Joint and soft tissue injections, such as epidural injections (interlaminar and transforaminal), piriformis injection, sacroiliac joint injections, and trigger point injections, can help treat and minimize head and neck pain. The type of injection that is done will depend on the location of the pain and its severity.

For patients experiencing chronic head and neck pain, Westcare Clinics doctors may recommend incorporating pain management techniques into the treatment plan, such as physical therapy, mind-body techniques, gentle exercise, therapeutic massage, and occupational therapy. The pain management techniques will be customized according to the patient’s needs.

Westcare Clinics also offers occupational medicine to help patients maintain the strength and flexibility they need to continue working. Our healthcare practitioners are qualified to train employers to adapt the workplace and worker responsibilities to the physical limitations of their employees.

Advanced Treatment

Patients experiencing head and neck pain may need complex, long-term care to fully recover from their injuries. Advanced treatment options may include surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, and other forms of rehabilitation. The Westcare Clinics team is happy to answer any questions patients may have about obtaining advanced treatment for head and neck pain.



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