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Can A Pinched Nerve In The Neck Lead To Headaches?

Can A Pinched Nerve In The Neck Lead To Headaches

When it comes to headaches, they can be caused by different medical conditions. Several factors can help narrow down the root cause of a headache. The location of the headache, frequency, level of pain, and type of pain can help doctors better understand what is causing your head to hurt. Other symptoms can also be key to diagnosing the cause of your headache. After gathering all this important information, doctors can use the data to develop a treatment plan that will provide relief. 

Can A Pinched Nerve in The Neck Cause Headaches? 

There are many causes of headaches, but a pinched nerve in the neck is one of the most common issues that can cause the head to hurt. When the nerves of the neck become pinched, they can cause headaches due to compression. Compression can generate pain along the nerve resulting in pain in the head. A pinched nerve headache can be excruciating and often must be treated by a medical professional to find relief. 

What Is Cervical Radiculopathy and What Causes It? 

Cervical Radiculopathy is a medical condition that occurs when a nerve in the top portion of the spine becomes compressed. There are many causes of Cervical Radiculopathy, and we will learn more about them below. 

Causes Of Cervical Radiculopathy

Causes Of Cervical Radiculopathy

  • Herniated disc: If you have a herniated disc in your spine, it may cause Cervical Radiculopathy. 
  • Narrowing of the spine: This is a common problem that can lead to Cervical Radiculopathy. 
  • Degenerative disease: While less common degenerative disease of the bones of the spine may cause Cervical Radiculopathy. 

More Symptoms Associated with Cervical Radiculopathy

If you suffer from Cervical Radiculopathy, you may have the following symptoms. 

  • Muscle weakness: This may include weakness of the neck and arm muscles. 
  • Sharp pain: When a neck muscle becomes compressed, you may have intense pain that runs up and down the neck. 
  • Shoulder pain: When you have a pinched nerve in the neck, you may also have shoulder pain. 
  • Arm pain or tingling: Pinched nerves in the neck may be felt in the arms. Pain in the arms or a tingling feeling may occur. 
  • Numbness: Cervical Radiculopathy often comes with a feeling of numbness in the neck or arms. 

Cervical Radiculopathy Risk Factors 

Some people are at greater risk of Cervical Radiculopathy. Below you will find some of the risk factors associated with this common condition. 

  • Pregnancy: Some pregnant women are at greater risk of developing Cervical Radiculopathy. 
  • Obesity: People who are overweight have a greater chance of suffering from pinched nerves of the neck. 
  • Chronic coughing: If you experience chronic coughing, you are at greater risk of developing a pinched nerve. 
  • Being male: Males have a greater risk of Cervical Radiculopathy. 

Diagnosing Cervical Radiculopathy 

You may wonder how your doctor will determine if you are suffering from Cervical Radiculopathy. Your doctor will perform a series of tests that will help you get to the root of your issues. Some of the tests that your doctor may perform include the following.

  • A physical examination: The first step in diagnosing Cervical Radiculopathy is to conduct a physical examination. 
  • MRI imaging: Next, your doctor will send you to the radiological department to have an MRI scan. This scan will give your doctor an image of your neck and spine. A pinched nerve will likely show up during the scan. 

Cervical Radiculopathy Treatment Options

Cervical Radiculopathy Treatment Options

There are quite a few treatment options available that may help you. The treatment options found below could be prescribed to you after your diagnosis. 

  • Sleeping with a cervical pillow: You may be prescribed a special cervical pillow that will allow help maintain the normal cervical curve and alleviate pressure and strain on the joints, muscles, and nerves. 
  • Neck brace: Your doctor may require you to wear a neck brace during your recovery. A neck brace will help limit movement and allow your nerves to heal on their own. 
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy is often performed when someone is suffering from Cervical Radiculopathy. This will help you build muscle strength which is needed to support your nerves and spine. 
  • Pain medication: You may be prescribed pain medication to decrease pain while your body is healing. 
  • Epidural steroid injections: Injections may be necessary to block pain if oral medications aren’t working. 
  • Surgery: In serve cases, you may have to have surgery to correct Cervical Radiculopathy. 


So, if you have ever wondered if a pinched nerve in the neck can cause headaches now, you have some answers. If you are suffering from headaches, make sure to seek help as soon as possible. At Medical Clinics of New York City, we accept most insurance plans, including no-fault (auto accidents) and workers’ compensation (for work-related injuries). To learn more about headaches associated with compressed nerves, please call us at (877) 465-7360. Same-day appointments may be available.

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