Neck pain causing headaches

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What is Causing YOUR Neck Pain?

Neck pain is one of the most common ailments in modern society, with those who work office jobs suffering the highest prevalence. Often accompanied by headaches, episodes of neck pain can be a truly miserable experience that has a severe impact on quality of life. But what causes neck pain, and why as a society are we so at risk? We hope to shed some light on that in this blog post.

Let’s start with the central nervous system…

Pain is ultimately the conscious manifestation of a threat to tissue quality. This threat can be actual or perceived, and can be further influenced by a variety of somatic, social and psychological factors. That’s why some people have a different ‘pain tolerance’ to others, and why two people with the same injury can have very different experiences of pain.This threat is in part determined by the information we receive from our peripheral sensory receptors. These receptors in our joint capsules, ligaments, muscles and fascia send information to our brain about our tissue quality, what’s under tension, where we are in space etc. Our brain then interprets this information and organizes a response – such as what muscles to use to get to our next desired position.Unfortunately, these receptors are not immune to dysfunction. In fact, if you have ever suffered an injury anywhere in your body, you likely have some misfiring receptors sending faulty information to your brain. This gives your brain a distorted picture and can cause it to overload certain structures and areas as it develops a motor strategy to perform a given task. In turn, this overload is then determined as a perceived threat to tissue quality which results in more pain!In any case of pain, these receptors must be located and addressed for lasting relief.


Modern Lifestyle

Another, more obvious contributor to the neck pain epidemic is our modern lifestyle. Our bodies did not evolve to spend 8 hours a day sat at a desk! The best posture is a changing one – our body and brain crave movement. Motion is lotion, and without it our muscle start to form adhesions, fibrosis and inflammatory responses.


Modern lifestyle is also extremely stressful in comparison to the lifestyle led by our distant ancestors that we evolved from (even though we live longer, and in theory have less threats to our safety than they did). Whilst they dealt with irregular, acute stressors – such as coming face to face with a lion, we’re exposed to constant small stressors such as urgent emails, phone-calls, news headlines etc. Our bodies stress response is the exact same in both situations, though of course the urgent email evokes a response of less intensity. But multiply that less intense response by multiple times throughout the day and it is clear that overall the total stress we incur is much higher. 

Furthermore, while our ancestors would then have to engage in either flight or flight to deal with the threat – we continue to sit at our desks and wait for the next stressor to come!

What Does This Mean For Our Bodies?

These factors lead to our bodies being in a constant state of tension. We are constantly in an element of fight or flight mode, which in turn affects our breathing mechanics, ribcage position, body alignment and muscle tension. It’s no wonder we are stiff and sore after a long day!Over time, as these muscles remain tight you may start to develop tension headaches, or the nerves that are supposed to slide independently between muscles can form adhesions with the muscle itself which can lead to nerve pain.

neck pain

How can we help?

At ProSport Physiotherapy, we look at the whole picture! We make sure your brain is getting the information it needs from your joints, and we work on giving your body and brain the alignment and mechanics it craves to help keep you pain free. If you are constantly suffering from pain at work, get in touch!



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