Obviously, any neck pain or headache related to some type of direct trauma, such as a car accident, slip and fall, blow to the head or associated with visual or speech disturbances should be investigated, and that person should seek chiropractic or medical help immediately.
Headaches can be due to muscle tension or some serious medical condition and always warrant investigation in my opinion. It is always odd to hear patients describe their “usual” headaches- the point being, there is no such thing as a usual headache!
That being said, muscle tension neck pain and headaches are most common, and are related to maintaining poor head and neck postures over extended periods of time. This can be related to computer work, studying, driving- any type of posture where the head extends forward of the shoulders and body. You’ve seen these people, they look like a turtle trying to walk on its hind legs- head sticking out, arms rolled forward, upper back curved like a turtle’s shell.
The simplest remedy to these types of neck pains and headaches is to correct the posture one is in right now- sit up if you are slouching, stand up if you are sitting, or bending, walk if you are standing and see what happens. If the pain goes away, that posture was aggravating the joints, muscles, and/or soft tissues and causing pain. It would be best to modify activities so as not to maintain those painful postures.
(Spine Sparing Strategies) can be most beneficial in these types of situations, and will help a person modify typical activities of daily living. We can show you how to perform these strategies to help yourself at home or the office.
Unfortunately, in most cases these poor postures have been held for so long that the muscles, ligaments and even the bones have changed shape- these tissues have lengthened or shortened and now limit motion and cause pain even without moving the head or neck. Headaches associated with these changes are usually found in the back of the head or temples and can worsen when resuming the offending poor posture.
In cases where the tissue has changed shape there is now dysfunction, meaning the neck, shoulders, upper back, or whatever else is involved no longer functions the way Mother Nature intended, and in trying to compensate for the dysfunction is causing pain.
In these advanced cases, where just sitting up or walking do not seem to help, it would be best to consult either a chiropractor or medical doctor to determine if dysfunction, or something more serious is causing the problem.
Where dysfunction related to soft and muscular tissue changes is the cause, joint mobilization (chiropractic care) and manual therapies (therapeutic exercises/rehab) such as chiropractic spinal manipulation and massage, in addition to simple stretches and exercises (sticks, canes foam rolls) can be very beneficial in rehabilitating any dysfunctions that have occurred over time from poor postures, or old injuries. (Chiropractic Care and Therapeutic Exercises/Rehab)
The idea is to restore motion, and ultimately normal function.
Although (Working Backs Scotland) recommendations pertain mainly to the low back, I do feel that they have some application for non-traumatic neck pain and headaches, and should be tried. The recommendations are as follows:
1. Stay Active
2. Try simple pain relief
3. If you need it, seek advice
It is always best to try to move your head and neck, even if it hurts. Cervical collars, bed rest and limiting motion will only lead to chronic neck pain and a worsening of the condition. Caution should always be taken if pain and/or numbness radiates into the arms or hands. This would warrant investigation.
As far as simple pain relief remedies are concerned, it doesn’t get any simpler, or more effective than (ice) for simple pain relief. There are also a number of (natural remedies) that can be beneficial over time.
If you are still concerned, and/or changing postures and home remedies do not seem to work, then do not hesitate to seek advice. You are always welcome to (contact us) at Paragon Chiropractic, and we will try our best to help you. (Testimonials)