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Can Lower Back Pain Cause Neck Pain And Headaches

Herniated Cervical Disc And Pinched Nerve

Improve Your Posture: Doorway Chest Stretch Can Cause Lower Back Pain, Neck Pain & Headaches

A pinched nerve in the cervical area of your spine can cause shooting neck pains that radiate to your head. According to Dr. William H. Blahd on WebMD, herniated discs most commonly occur in the cervical spine and lumbar spine. This bulge puts pressure on the nerve and can cause intense pain, pain when moving or bending your neck, or tingling in your arms and legs.11

Many sensory nerve fibers are located in your spinal cord in the upper cervical area of your spine. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association reports that pinched cervical nerves can cause a cervicogenic headache, or a cervical headache. This can cause headache pain like a migraine attack that feels as if something is thumping in your head.10

Researchers say that other symptoms of a pinched nerve include:

  • Stiff neck and pain in the back of the neck
  • Pain that radiates to the shoulder and/or lower back
  • Throbbing sensation in the back of the head
  • Headaches that are caused by moving the neck
  • Tenderness of the scalp and back of the neck

Please read my article on how to treat pinched nerves in the upper back to find out how to get rid of neck pain quickly.

How Is A Spinal Headache Diagnosed

A doctor diagnoses a spinal headache based on your history and symptoms. If you have had a spinal tap within 14 days, diagnosis is often obvious. In that case, tests are usually not needed.

In people who have not had a spinal tap, doctors typically use imaging tests called magnetic resonance imaging to diagnose the source of the headache. These tests enable the doctor to see the brain and spinal cord to look for signs of leaking spinal fluids.

Results From Nerve Root Blocks On Headache

At the evaluation, 30 min after the SNRB, 101 of the 161 patients with headache experienced headache reduction on VAS, of 25% or more and 93 patients experienced a reduction of more than 50%. Of these 93 patients, 66 reported a total relief of headache during the nerve root block .

This figure shows the reduction of headache 30 min after nerve block. The remaining 60 patients experienced no or less than 10% reduction of headache after the nerve root block

The pain in the neck, shoulder, arm and headache intensity after the SNRB are shown in Table 3. A significant correlation was seen between headache reduction and the pain intensity in the neck, shoulder and arm after SNRB . A significant correlation was also seen between the groups of patients with reduction of headache more than 25 and 50% and the groups of patients with reduced neck, shoulder and arm pain more than 25 and 50%. In patients with headache, a significantly higher limitation in daily activities was reported in comparison with patients without headache .

Read Also: Exercise For Lower Back Pain Mayo Clinic

Bad Pillow Or Mattress

Waking up in the morning with neck pain and a headache caused by a stiff neck could be due to a bad pillow or mattress.

According to researchers from Harvard Medical School, sleeping on a comfortable mattress with a proper supporting pillow can do much to prevent waking up with neck pain and a thumping headache. Researchers also say that your sleeping position should also support your spine and the natural curve of your neck.

Ways to avoid headaches and back pain in the morning include:

  • Sleeping on your side or back to support the curve of your spine
  • Choosing a memory foam pillow that supports your cervical spine better
  • Dont use a pillow that is too high or stiff

When Should I Call My Health Care Provider

Neck Pain

See your health care provider if you have:

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control, with weakness in both legs. These symptoms require immediate attention

  • Severe back or neck pain that does not decrease with medication and rest

  • Pain after an injury or a fall

  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in your legs or arms

  • Fever

  • Back and neck problems range from minor aches to severe, disabling pain

  • Often, the reasons for your pain cannot be identified.

  • See a health care provider if you have numbness or tingling, severe pain that does not improve with medication and rest, difficulty urinating, weakness, pain, or numbness in your legs, fever, unintentional weight loss, or pain after a fall.

  • Often, back and neck pain will improve over time. Consult with your health care provider if your pain is not decreasing.

  • Use prevention strategies to keep yourself healthy and injury-free.

For severe, disabling, or chronic back pain, consider an individualized rehabilitation program.

Also Check: How Much Advil Can I Take For Back Pain

Ask Dr Sabers: Can Spine Injury Cause Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches are debilitating. Some migraine sufferers report that neck and back injuries increase the frequency of their migraines. Summit interventional spine specialist Dr. Sabers explains the connection between back pain and migraine headaches.

As an interventional spine specialist at Summit, says Dr. Sabers, I find that about 15 percent of my practice concerns neck pain with associated headache. There are approximately 20 different types of headache, including a migraine, and spine injury is a factor in the headache pain I treat.

The Stiff Neck And Lower Back Pain Connection

Do you regularly suffer from both a stiff neck and lower back pain? Do you ever suspect that the two conditions may be related whether youve endured a direct injury or not? While these are two distinct areas of the body, the common link is the spine and the age-related conditions that can affect it. Neck and back pain can also be related because a problem in one area of the body can lead to changes in posture and movement that negatively affect another seemingly unrelated area.

Our spine is a complex arrangement of bones, joints and connective tissue that support the upper body while protecting the central nervous system. As we get older, these parts tend to degenerate, leading to conditions like arthritis and herniated and bulging discs that can lead to both localized and radiating pain. While a stiff neck and lower back pain will almost always be caused by separate diagnosable injuries, the underlying factors can be highly related. For example, someone with arthritis in the lower back is very likely to also have it develop in the upper spine, leading to a stiff neck.

Physical therapy can be a highly effective form of treatment for patients dealing with a stiff neck and lower back pain. By learning more about the specific therapeutic options a therapist can provide, you can be more involved with your care. Were sharing this information to help you find the relief you deserve and encourage you to contact us if you have any questions.

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Nerve Root Block Technique

The nerve root blocks were performed in an X-ray suite by a specially trained neuroradiologist. The technique used was basically similar to the lateral approach described by Kikuchi but performed with the use of fluoroscopy . A 0.7 mm needle, 40 or 75 mm long, was used. No local anaesthetics were given on the skin. The needle position was confirmed in all patients with the use of contrast media. Then 1/2 ml of Mepivacaine 10 mg/ml was injected for blocking the nerve . The effect from the nerve root block is estimated not to last more than 2 h.

a Shows needle in position, and b distribution of contrast enhanced injection of local anaesthetics along the nerve root

What Is Back And Neck Pain

What causes headache with neck & lower back pain in young women? – Dr. Mohan M R

Back pain can range from a mild, dull, annoying ache to persistent, severe, disabling pain. Pain in your back can limit your ability to move. It can interfere with normal functioning and quality of life. Always talk with your healthcare provider if you have persistent pain.

Neck pain occurs in the area of the cervical vertebrae in your neck. Because of its location and range of motion, your neck is often left unprotected and at risk for injury.

Pain in your back or neck area can come on suddenly and intensely. Chronic pain lasts for weeks, months, or even years. The pain can be constant or come and go.

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Tips To Relieve Headaches From Neck Pain

After youve figured out the cause of your neck pain and headaches, there are things you can do at home to help ease the pain and start to feel better. Heres how to relieve headaches caused by neck pain:

1. Improve Workplace Ergonomics

Adjusting how you work is good for preventing headaches caused by pain in the neck. How you sit at work can put strain and pressure on your neck. If possible, adjust the height of your monitor so you are looking directly at it rather than up or down.

If you sit, choose a chair that is the appropriate height for you. Your feet should rest flat on the floor when you sit, and your knees should be a few inches from the edge of the chair. If you have to look down at paperwork while on the job, consider getting a stand to hold the documents at eye level so you arent constantly bending your neck.

2. Improve Your Posture

Your posture has a significant effect on how your neck feels. If you regularly slouch, you put a lot of extra weight on the head and neck, leading to pain and discomfort.

The first step toward improving your posture is becoming aware of it. When you stand, notice the angle of your back, neck and shoulders. Try to stand up as tall and straight as possible. That means pulling in your stomach and pushing your shoulders back slightly. Your head should be level as if you are balancing a book on it.

3. Improve Your Sleep

4. Exercise More

5. Schedule a Massage

6. Manage Your Stress

7. Try Heat and Cold

Why Does My Neck Pain Cause Headaches

Neck pain and headaches are often mentioned at the same time, as a stiff neck can cause a headache.

In fact, many neck problems can irritate, strain, or compress the nerves in the neck, which could trigger a headache.

Often, neck pain is caused by poor posture, neck strain, or injury.

In other cases, it could be caused by medical conditions, including a pinched nerve or herniated cervical disk.

There are several factors that can contribute to neck pain, including injuries, strains, and certain medical conditions.

Some common causes of neck pain include:

A herniated cervical disc occurs when one of the soft discs between one of the seven vertebrae in your neck becomes damaged and bulges out of your spinal column. If this presses on a nerve, you can feel pain in your neck and head.

A pinched nerve occurs when a nerve in your neck is irritated or compressed. With so many sensory nerve fibers in the spinal cord in your neck, a pinched nerve here can result in a number of symptoms, including:

  • stiff neck
  • headache caused by moving your neck

Other symptoms can include shoulder pain along with muscle weakness and numbness or tingling sensations.

Some types of headaches can contribute to neck pain, which may be caused by issues with certain muscles or nerves.

The source of a tension headache is often traced back to a buildup of:

Some types of headaches could be caused by certain neck problems, including injury, inflammation, and chronic neck tension.

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What Causes Back And Neck Pain

Even with today’s technology, the exact cause of back and neck pain is difficult to determine. In most cases, back and neck pain may have many different causes, including any of the following:

  • Overuse, strenuous activity, or improper use, such as repetitive or heavy lifting

  • Trauma, injury, or fractures

  • Degeneration of vertebrae, often caused by stresses on the muscles and ligaments that support your spine, or the effects of aging

  • Infection

  • Abnormal growth, such as a tumor or bone spur

  • Obesity, which places increased weight on your spine, and pressure on your discs

  • Poor muscle tone

  • Joint problems, such as arthritis

  • Smoking

  • Protruding or herniated disk and pinched nerve

  • Osteoporosis and compression fractures

  • Congenital abnormalities of your vertebrae and bones

  • Abdominal problems, such as an aortic aneurysm

Where Can I Get Treatment For Neck Pain And Headaches In Back Of Head

Here Are Some Simple Ways To Deal With Neck Pain

There are many prominent treatments available for neck pain in the US nowadays.

These treatment options can be found in many clinics, hospitals, or facilities.

One of the best treatment for neck pain and headaches in the back of the head can be found in Connecticut Disc and Laser Therapy Centers, which is located in Connecticut.

They have sophisticated, cutting-edge technology in their facility, and they treat patients who have failed to respond to conventional therapy methods.

Read Also: Mayo Clinic Low Back Pain Exercises

Persistent And Unremitting Back Pain

Unremitting pain typically raises the same fear in patients and care-givers a concern for cancer. Back pain is the presenting symptom in most patients with cancer that has moved into the spine. Patients who already know they have a cancerous condition should alert their doctors to order specific imaging studies without delay.

Patients with spinal cancer usually experience a different kind of pain from that in common back and neck injuries. Ordinary back pain is usually related to activity, relieved by rest and is often associated with a recognized lifting or physical injury. It may seem to linger forever, but in reality, it typically begins to get better after about four to six weeks of rest.

Instead of getting better with rest, pain caused by a spinal tumor is persistent, progressively getting more intense over time, and is not relieved by rest. Pain may actually feel worse at night, and feel a bit better when you are up and around. Thoracic back pain may be associated with belt-like burning pain around the torso, and lower back pain may be accompanied by symptoms of pain or weakness in the legs similar to what we see in a disc herniation.

Since the most common cause of a spinal cancer is a metastasis from cancers of the lungs, breasts, prostate, kidneys, colon and thyroid, these organs should be thoroughly checked by your doctor when cancer is suspected.

Summit Orthopedics Offers Comprehensive Spine Expertise

Summit Orthopedics Spine Care program is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for the comprehensive expertise of our patient-centered care. Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, our highly skilled surgeons offer proven, evidence-based surgical options. Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.

Start your journey to a healthy spine. Find your spine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at to schedule a spine consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.

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How Back Pain And Headaches Are Linked

Just because you experience back pain and headaches at the same time doesnt mean your back problem is the cause of your headaches.

For instance, if you have an illness, such as meningitis, you may feel pain in your back and have a headache, but the primary cause of both is the infection. In a similar way, women who have achy backs during menstruation may also get headaches, but those symptoms are caused by hormonal fluctuations and cramping.

However, sometimes your headache can be a direct result of your back problem. Here are some examples:

Warm Or Cold Compress

Headaches Caused by Neck Pain

A warm compress is a great way to relieve muscle tension in the back of your upper neck that is causing headaches. Heat from a warm compress also helps to alleviate irritation in sore joints.

According to Dr. Melinda Ratini on WebMD, a warm pad can help to reduce headache and neck pain. Heat helps to reduce tension in muscles and reduce the length of time your head hurts. For some types of headache, a cold compress works better and has a cooling effect on inflamed nerves.17

How to use a heat compress to relieve pain at the base of the skull:

  • Fill a hot water bottle with hot water and wrap in a towel.
  • Place the warm compress at the base of your skull or on the back of your head.
  • Leave for 15 minutes to help relieve neck pain and headaches in the back of your head.
  • Use 2 or 3 times a day to ease pressure at the base of your skull.
  • You can also try using a cold pack for pain at the base of your neck that is caused by a pinched nerve. Use a bag of frozen vegetables in place of the hot water bottle.

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    Pinched Nerve From A Herniated Disc

    Injury to the disc may occur when neck motion puts too much pressure on thedisc. One of the most painful injuries that can occur is a herniated disc. Inthis injury, the tear in the annulus is so bad that part of the nucleus pulposussqueezes out of the center of the disc. The annulus can tear or rupture anywherearound the disc. If it tears on the side next to the spinal canal, then whenthe nucleus pulposus squeezes out, it can press against the spinal nerves. Pressureon the nerve root from a herniated disc can cause pain, numbness, and weaknessalong the nerve. There is also evidence that the chemicals released from theruptured disc may irritate the nerve root, leading to some of the symptoms ofa herniated disc – especially pain.

    Herniated discs are more common in early, middle-aged adults. This conditionmay occur when too much force is exerted on an otherwise healthy intervertebraldisc. An example would be a car accident where your head hit the windshield.The force on the neck is simply too much for even a healthy disc to absorb andinjury is the result. A herniated disc may also occur in a disc that has beenweakened by the degenerative process. Once weakened, less force is needed tocause the disc to tear or rupture. However, not everyone with a ruptured dischas degenerative disc disease. Likewise, not everyone with degenerative discdisease will suffer a ruptured disc.


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