How Referred Pain from Arthritis or a Pinched Nerve Can Cause Headaches
Headache Causes: Page 5
Why: When there's damage or injury to parts of the body that connect to the head via nerves, the pain can travel and be experienced as a headache. This "referred pain" can be from a toothache or earache, or from farther away -- a pinched nerve in the neck is an especially common headache cause, says Michael Sellman of the Mercy Medical Center. Sometimes the sufferer thinks of the headache and the body pain as two different problems, even though they're related.
What to notice: Degenerative changes in the neck that cause headache are especially common in older adults, says University of Texas's Deborah Friedman. Other causes include holding a phone crooked between your ear and shoulder or sitting in a round-shouldered, forward-hunching position.
If you find yourself reaching more and more often for pain meds, consider whether a good stretching regimen might be the real solution. If it's osteoarthritis, a doctor can recommend a safe pain-management strategy.