Neck Pain and Headaches


Neck pain can start for many reasons and have many qualities. It is therefore important that you are properly assessed if you have neck pain or headaches to determine the cause of your pain and to determine what sort of treatment is going to be most effective for you. At Sydney Spine and Pelvis Centre we will assess your thoracic spine (upper back), neck, base of the skull and cranium, plus all the associated muscles and nerves to find the source of your symptoms.

Causes of Neck Pain and Headaches that we treat:

  • Muscle strain
  • Disc degeneration or acute prolapsed cervical disc
  • Nerve root irritation or brachial plexus irritation
  • Whiplash injury
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative arthritis of neck facet joints
  • Poor posture and recurrent stress
  • Trauma
  • Upper cervical spine joint stiffness causing neck headaches
  • TMJ pain or subluxation
  • Cranial headaches
  • Upper rib injuries referring to the neck

Neck Muscles

The muscles between your shoulder blades, upper part of your shoulders and your neck muscles can all create neck pain if they become tight or work too hard. This might begin because of an injury, bad posture or poor sitting, work or lifting habits. The tight muscles make your neck joints feel compressed or stiff and can even refer pain towards your shoulders. Over time the balance in your neck muscles changes and specific muscles that are meant to support your neck become weak and make your head feel heavy.

Our Physiotherapists are experienced in the assessment and correction of muscle imbalances that result in neck pain and can help to relieve muscle tension, improve muscle length and joint mobility and retrain correct posture.

Cervicogenic (neck) headaches

Neck headaches are caused by painful neck joints, muscles or other structures that refer pain to the base of your skull, to your head or face. Researchers feel that neck headache accounts for about 20% of all headaches seen clinically. 

What's causes your neck headache?

Your neck headache will normally begin due to injury, stiffness or dysfunction of either the joints at the top of your neck, tight neck muscles or irritated nerves, which trigger pain signals that the brain interprets as a neck headache. The most common cause of neck headache is dysfunction at your upper three neck joints (0/C1, C1/C2, C2/C3) plus tension in the sub-occipital muscles. At Sydney Spine and Pelvis Centre we use a combination of gentle Muscle Energy Techniques, muscle releases, joint glides, cranio-sacral therapy, and specific posture and muscle re-education to decrease the strain on your skull

Other reasons for headaches

  • Cranial tension or trauma
  • TMJ (JAW) tension or altered bite
  • Stress
  • Migraine headaches
  • Eye strain

The Physiotherapists at Sydney Spine and Pelvis Centre are experts in assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for neck pain, radiating shoulder pain, referred arm pain and headaches. Our initial assessment of neck and back injuries is one hour in order to fully assess your problem and determine the best way we can help, whether that is specific manual therapy techniques, muscle retraining, or exercise therapy. If you require further information about the treatment we provide or specific exercise rehabilitation please call us 9719.9114, Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.