About 20% of all headaches are caused by a problem in the neck. This can be as a result of;

  • nerve irritation in the upper part of the neck
  • stiffness in the joints of the neck
  • or areas of sustained muscle spasm in the neck or shoulders


If headaches are caused by the neck there is often a history of neck injury like ‘whiplash’ or sporting injury. Poor posture is linked with headaches, specifically rounded shoulders and protruding-chin postures. Sitting for long periods of time in one posture, for example when working at computer screens or if spending long periods driving can produce headaches. Stress, because it increases muscle tension at the neck and shoulders, can also cause headaches.

Treatment can consist of;

  • Reducing joint stiffness with manual techniques
  • Treating tension and muscle spasm (trigger points) in the muscles of the neck.
  • Retraining and strengthening muscles around the neck
  • Electrotherapy
  • A home exercise program to increase and maintain strength and flexibility of the neck
  • And postural education and advice (including taping if necessary) to prevent re-occurrence.
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage