Headache pain can come from so many different sources. You may have been diagnosed with migraines but the trigger is coming from muscle tension in the neck. Here is a young lady’s story of struggling with ocular migraines.



You may have migraine symptoms but a cause or trigger is coming from a neck problem.


Questions to ask


Do you have tension in the back of the neck or head?

Is your pain more one sided?

Does heat help your headaches?

Are your headaches frequent? Do you have some level of pain most of the time?

Do you have headache pain when you wake up? Are they worse by the end of the day?


If you have answered yes to one or more of these questions there may be an underlying cause for your headache pain. This means that maybe a structure, such as neck muscles or joints, might be triggering headache pain. This is a cervicogenic or tension type headache.


Pain that is severe but only a few times a month or headaches linked to your hormonal cycle are less likely to be a cervicogenic headache.


Areas that should be tested


Test your eyes


Your eyes should be assessed especially if you get eye fatigue throughout the day or any pain behind or around the eyes. The best test to pick up an eye muscle problem is the convergence test.



Test your neck


Your neck should be assessed for poor mechanics as well as muscle trigger points. This is typically done by a physical therapist or chiropractor that specializes in head and neck conditions. The common area of dysfunction is the upper neck. One of the best screening tests is the upper cervical C1-2 joint seated test. It is very accurate and if it reproduces your headache pain then there is a neck connection to your headaches.



Check your TMJ


While TMJ problems do not cause headache pain having increased jaw muscle tension can create facial and temple pain. This is more common with people that clench and grind their teeth. Here’s something to check. Feel the inside of your cheeks with your tongue. Do you feel a ridge? If you do this is a callous and you are a severe clencher. This can cause neck tightness over time and this muscle tension and trigger points can then cause headache pain.


Check for clenching


Here are some things that you can try for headache pain.



Dry needling can be very effective in reducing headache pain. It is fast and effective. You can call Cornerstone at 719-596-5000 to schedule a consult for dry needling.




Cornerstone Physical Therapy specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of headache pain. Treatment is specific to restoring and treating the underlying physical causes of headache pain. This is a non-surgical, non-medication approach to headache pain.