Neck Pain and Headaches

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more than half of the adult population will experience a headache during the year and that the majority of headaches are under-recognized and under-treated.

Severe neck pain and headaches make up approximately 35% of reported pain. This type of headache is generally described by the sufferer as a tight band around the head, which extends into the neck. This is typically referred to as a tension-type headache. This condition can have a profound impact on multiple areas of one’s life.

  • Affects the persons’ ability to sleep well
  • Pain negatively impacts energy levels
  • 70% of sufferers report trouble concentrating
  • May lead to anxiety and depression due to decreased enjoyment of life
  • Approximately 4 hours of lost productivity per week

There are several causes that may lead a person to have tension-type headaches, some of which may be preventable.

  • Extended periods of poor posture/failed or no ergonomic intervention
  • Old injuries or traumas
  • Chronic conditions such as arthritis
  • Sedentary lifestyle- 23% higher risk if obese

According to the WHO more than half of headache sufferers are self- medicating and are not seeking care. Since headaches are not contagious, self- limiting and typically are not deadly people usually do not seek care. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage is helpful in a number of ways.

  • Decreased perceived pain and tension
  • Reduction of frequency, intensity and duration
  • Reducing anxiety and depression

Some preventative measures to be taken to reduce the risk of onset of a tension- type headache include.

  • Exercise to help reduce and relieve physical and mental stress
  • Stretching to increase flexibility
  • Checking your work environment and change any known aggravators

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs277/en/

https://www.amtamassage.org/approved_position_statements/Massage-Can-Be-Effective-for-Tension-Headaches.html