Neck pain and headaches often go hand in hand and can affect each other. The trigger is usually first a painful tension of the neck muscles. This leads to a restriction of movement of the head, which is ultimately perceived as a neck pain with a headache. In most cases the diagnosis is a cervical spine syndrome. Only in very rare cases is the condition based on a dangerous or acutely condition requiring treatment. This can usually be recognized by additional warning signs.


For neck pain with headache is often a common cause. In some cases, however, the two symptoms have different causes, and they can mutually influence and reinforce each other. The most common symptoms are irritation in the area of ​​the cervical spine. This most moving part of the back, which due to its construction allows turning, tilting, bending and stretching of the head, is prone to various damage and wear.
Tension of the neck musculature occurs most frequently, which can go back to wrong postures as well as under- and overloading. Neck complaints and headaches can also be the result of an injury, such as a car accident involving whiplash.
Only in very rare cases is the condition underlying a threatening and acutely condition requiring treatment, such as meningitis. However, neck and headache usually do not appear as the only complaint but it often comes to high fever and, where appropriate, to a consciousness of the affected person.

  • neck pain
  • Causes of headache

Accompanying symptoms

Neck pain with headache often occurs in a cervical spine syndrome. This complex of complaints can be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms. Frequently pain also occurs in the shoulders. A charisma in the arms up to the hands is also possible. Here, a tingling and numbness feelings can be triggered. However, as these concomitant symptoms may also indicate a disc herniation of the cervical spine, these should be clarified by the doctor if they appear again. In addition, neck pain with headaches can cause discomfort such as dizziness, nausea, and gait.

If fever is present as a concomitant symptom, it can be on the one hand to a beginning harmless cold infection, on the other hand, there is the risk that a meningitis is the cause, so that as soon as possible a medical examination and assessment should be made in this constellation.

  • Cervical spondylosis
  • Symptoms of a cervical syndrome

With fever / elevated temperature

Fever usually occurs as a sign of an inflammatory reaction of the body and can have many causes. As a rule, it is not dangerous as a symptom, but in a few cases it may indicate a threatening condition. If neck pain with headache causes an increase in body temperature, it may be a sign of meningitis, which should be treated as soon as possible. Other symptoms that may indicate meningitis include abnormal consciousness and neck stiffness. In a corresponding constellation, therefore, a doctor should be notified promptly.

  • Meningitis
  • Signs of meningitis

With dizziness

In neck pain with headache dizziness can occur as a further symptom, which is usually perceived as Schwankschwindel or Taumelgefühl. Due to the various complaints many sufferers also complain about a gear uncertainty. All symptoms are usually based on a common cause. In most cases, there is initially a tension in the neck muscles, which causes neck pain and causes the headache by radiation. The dizziness can arise on the one hand due to the limited mobility of the head and the cervical spine and on the other hand by an irritation of nerve fibers.

In general, dizziness is a very common symptom with a variety of possible causes. While headaches and neck pain are present, a connection is likely but not mandatory. Prolonged, recurrent or very violent dizziness should be followed by a medical examination. In some cases, for example, there is a disorder of the sense of balance in the inner ear, which typically produces a vertigo like on a carousel. If no treatable cause can be identified, the exclusion diagnosis of cervical syndrome often remains the most likely cause of neck pain with headache and dizziness.

  • Dizziness due to tension
  • Causes of dizziness
  • Cervical spine syndrome and dizziness

With earache

Earache can occur in a variety of circumstances and can sometimes be associated with neck pain and headache. The ears are very sensitive and there are many nerve fibers, so it often comes to earache, without any damage to the ear itself as an inflammation or injury. A rare cause is muscle tension in the neck area, which often causes pain in the neck and head. Additional possible symptoms may be tinnitus (tinnitus) or dizziness. In case of very severe ear pain and a general malaise, a doctor should be consulted. By looking into the ear with a special instrument, for example, the family doctor can usually detect whether or not there is a disease in the ear.

With tinnitus

Neck pain with headache usually results in a cervical spine syndrome, in which sufferers can additionally suffer from a variety of other symptoms. Among other things, ear noises can develop, which are called tinnitus and can appear on both sides. If the sound is heard only for a few seconds and then disappears completely, this is harmless and requires no further clarification. However, if the tinnitus occurs again and persists longer or does not disappear at all, a quick check-up with the family doctor or the ear, nose and throat specialist is recommended. Often, however, no other cause than the possible relationship to the neck pain and headache can be found. Nevertheless, in a few cases the ear noises are based on another treatable disease.

  • Cervical spine syndrome and tinnitus
  • Causes of tinnitus


For neck pain with headache, the diagnosis is usually made on the basis of findings from a targeted physical examination and the medical consultation. The doctor will ask the patient questions about the onset and cause of the discomfort, the exact location, the nature of the pain and, if necessary, about improving or worsening circumstances.
During the examination, among other things, the neck is scanned for possible palpable tensions. Often the body temperature is also measured. In the examination, the doctor pays particular attention to possible warning symptoms for a dangerous disease, such as high fever, which may indicate a meningitis in neck pain with headaches. In most cases, however, the symptoms are not threatening and in most cases the diagnosis of a cervical spine syndrome is made. Sometimes, the doctor will first initiate another diagnostic procedure, such as a laboratory examination of the blood.

Treatment / therapy

How neck pain is treated with a headache depends on the cause of the problem. In the rare cases in which an acute and possibly threatening disease is detected, a targeted therapy takes place.
For example, bacterial meningitis must be treated as soon as possible with an antibiotic given through the vein during inpatient hospitalization. In most cases, however, the cause of neck pain with headaches is harmless, and the symptoms include, for example, muscle tension and nerve irritation. In these situations, treatment is provided by general measures that help alleviate the symptoms. Regular healthy exercise has the highest priority here.
In addition, a short-term therapy with painkillers may be appropriate. Furthermore, heat treatments such as going to the sauna or receiving red light often provide relief. Passive measures such as massages can also help to improve neck pain and headaches. Exercise and exercise as active measures should nevertheless always be part of the therapy. In acute complaints, for example, backstroke or yoga are suitable.

  • Treatment of a cervical spine syndrome
  • Exercises in a cervical spine syndrome

Cool or heat?

For neck pain with headache, the decision on whether to cool or warm should be made dependent on the cause of the condition. As in the majority of cases a strain of the neck muscles causes the discomfort, warming is usually better suited to alleviate the symptoms. It makes no difference whether it is irradiated with red light or, for example, a heated cherry or spelled core pillow is placed in the neck. In any case, care should be taken not to apply the heat too long and not to let the neck get too hot as otherwise skin burns may occur, which are additionally painful. Application of heat to an appropriate level, such as ten minutes of red light irradiation three times a day, promotes blood circulation and stimulates relaxation of the muscle fibers.

However, if inflammation or injury is the cause of neck pain with headache, the application of heat is inappropriate. If necessary, relief can be provided by temporary cooling. However, it should not delay the transition to the doctor, which is usually recommended for such pain causes.


There are a variety of possible exercises that will help to improve neck pain with headaches provided they are done properly and regularly. As an example, two exercises are described here.
At the first one stands upright, looks straight ahead and slowly inclines his head to one side. This position is held for ten seconds. Then slowly bring the head back to the normal position and repeat the exercise on the other side. In each case two passes should be made. If the head is inclined, the other shoulder can be lowered slightly, if necessary in addition. However, no movement beyond a slight pull should be performed.
In the second exercise you are also standing upright and now lowers the child slowly in the direction of the chest as far as possible or until a slight tug on the neck occurs. This position is held for ten seconds. Then you raise your head again, tilting it slowly backwards and looking up. This position is also held for ten seconds, followed by a repetition of the exercise.
In case of new severe pain, a previous accident as well as fever or dizziness, no exercises should be carried out but a doctor should be consulted.

  • Exercises in a cervical spine syndrome
  • Physiotherapy for cervical spine syndrome


Taping with special elastic bands can be an effective way to relieve neck pain with headache relief. It is important that the taping is done professionally by a trained person. Only by a precise knowledge of the anatomical courses of the muscles as well as the function of the tapes, effective application of the tapes can take place. These are available in different degrees of flexibility and, for example, in the case of neck pain with headaches, are glued to the right and left of the spine from the back of the head during the course of the hood muscle. Together with active movement, taping supports the release of muscular tension. In general, the tapes can be left until they dissolve again, which is usually the case after a few days. When showering they do not need to be specially covered.


Anyone who suffers from frequent or lengthy neck pain with headaches can try to relieve the symptoms by taking homeopathic medications. The choice of the appropriate preparation should be based on the quality of the complaints as well as on triggering and alleviating factors. As an example, with knocking, hammering headaches, which occur especially in the morning, mend when lying on the right side and sun exposure worsen the agent with the ingredient Natrual Muriaticum C30 with the potency D12 the right choice. Five globules should be taken three times a day. For very pronounced symptoms or if fever occurs in addition, a sole treatment with homeopathy is not indicated but it should first be a medical clarification of the cause of neck pain with headache.


The duration of neck pain with headache can vary greatly depending on the cause. For the first time complaints, for example, after a long drive or sleeping in an unfavorable position usually relieve the pain after a few days. However, many people often suffer from recurring neck pain with headaches, so that a chronic course over months and years is not uncommon.

A special case is when the symptoms occur suddenly without any signs and with the greatest intensity. In the case of a so-called extermination headache, an immediate medical examination is important, since such a short duration can be the symptoms of bleeding in the area of ​​the meninges. On the other hand, long-standing neck pain with a headache usually has a harmless cause but is difficult to treat.


Unilateral complaints

Neck pain with headache is often felt more on the right or left side. In some cases, even one-sided infestation is possible. A common cause is that there is tension on the left or right side of the neck musculature. This can possibly even be felt as asymmetrical hardening in the course of the muscle. Radiating from the neck, the headache is usually localized only on one side. In the case of very severe, newly occurring, one-sided headaches and neck pain as well as accompanying symptoms such as fever or blurred vision, a timely medical examination is recommended to rule out or recognize in good time rare causes that require treatment.

Bilateral complaints

When neck pain with headache occurs, bilateral involvement is common. The whole neck can feel tight and lead to a strong restriction of the mobility of the head. The headache can then also occur on both sides, often especially the back of the head is affected. However, some sufferers report a mostly dull pain in the entire head. Bilateral neck pain with headache usually does not indicate a dangerous disease. However, warning signs of a possible threatening cause are high fever or disturbances of consciousness.

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