Headaches Are a Pain in the Neck

Written by Stephen Sacks – Medically reviewed by Stephen Sacks – Last updated July 8, 2021

Headaches are a common phenomenon, especially with the increase in stress and screen time in modern life. In my experience, the most common sort of headache is a cervicogenic headache. This kind of headache has its roots in the cervical spine.

There can be so many different reasons for experiencing a headache, since there are so many different muscles that move the neck. A restriction in the neck may cause a ‘unilateral’ pain that runs to the eye or even down to the jaw. This overarching headache might be on one side or both sides, but it can also restrict neck movement which causes further discomfort. People often feel that a headache comes on with a neck pain that precedes it, which is how you can tell that it is a cervicogenic headache.

I often say that “if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then that’s what it is”, and if you can press on a certain point and that can stimulate the headache that a person gets, that’s normally what it is that is causing it. Once I have pressed on these certain muscles which are trigger points in the neck or in the supporting musculature, it confirms the roots of the headache and I can then move forwards with treating it.

What then happens is that we release some of the cervical musculature, whether it is the trapezius or one of the other muscles that support the neck. The headache can often disappear once I have pressed on those points. Acupuncture can make a huge difference to headaches and I often use the needles to relieve pain and help heal the problem.