One of the most common reasons for headaches, neck pain and shoulder pain is a musculoskeletal dysfunction of the neck. It depends upon where the dysfunction is situated in the neck as to whether you experience a referral of pain to either your head (giving you a headache), your neck or the top of your shoulder.
At Southside Physiotherapy, your physiotherapist can help to alleviate this pain with hands-on treatment combined with exercise therapy and general advice as to how to minimise the load on your neck. Our head weighs around 6-8 kg so therefore our neck muscles need to be able to support this heavy load throughout the day. This is compounded by the fact that nowadays, we tend to spend increasing amounts of time with our head either jutting forward or looking down, particularly when working at computer screens. This is one of the main reasons for the increase in headaches, neck and shoulder pain in our modern day society.
COMMON REASONS FOR HEADACHE, NECK AND SHOULDER PAIN
- Poor posture during the day or while sleeping.
- Repetitive overuse injury (e.g. sitting too long in front of the computer/on the phone)
- Trauma (e.g. whiplash injury, a blow to the head in sport, or a fall)
- Teeth grinding when sleeping
- Weak neck muscles
- Short over active neck muscles
- Emotional stress
- Poor diet
- Lack of cardiovascular fitness
TIPS TO AVOID HEADACHE, NECK AND SHOULDER PAIN
- Maintain a good ergonomic setup off your computer (see Ergonomic Computer Habits).
- Avoid sitting for long periods (maximum of 45 minutes at a time).
- Maintain good cardiovascular fitness (the recommended amount is 3 to 4 times per week of cardiovascular exercises where you exert yourself to a level where it is difficult to speak while exercising).
- Avoid sleeping on your tummy.
- Avoid grinding your teeth while asleep (you may need to see your dentist to help with this).
- Maintain a good head posture by elongating the back of your neck and tucking your chin in.
- Drink plenty of water, at least 2 litres per day.
The good news is that your physiotherapist will be able to help you decrease your headache, neck and shoulder pain if it is caused by a dysfunction of your neck. Please contact Southside Physiotherapy if you would like to make an appointment or find out further information.
Headaches, migraine, and neck and shoulder pain are one of the most common reasons for visiting a physiotherapist.