Neck pain with restrictive movement is a common condition that can appear suddenly and resolve in a few days. Reoccurring or prolonged neck pain will often have its origin in the soft tissue and/or skeletal joints. Soft tissue adhesions (scar tissue) can develop from acute injury such as motor vehicle collision or recreational sports. Scar tissue can also develop from prolonged postures, such as working on a computer. The soft tissue can become overloaded while in the forward head posture, causing irritation and scarring.
The prolonged postural stress or sudden ballistic loading of the neck can create spinal joints to become blocked, losing their ability to participate in the full range of motion. These small areas of reduced mobility can create palpable muscle spasm and tenderness, in time creating headaches.
A well known orthopedic researcher, Bogduk, demonstrated that by injecting anesthetic nerve blocks into spinal neck joints, chronic headaches were successfully eliminated in 7 out of 10 patients. A thorough examination of the soft tissues and joints of the cervical spine should be performed on all patients who suffer with neck pain and headaches. For those with a cervical origin headache, a combined approach of Active Release Technique, chiropractic care and home strengthening and stretching exercises may be very beneficial.