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How to Treat Neck Pain That Causes Nausea and Dizziness

By Dr. Victor Marchione, MD ,

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

You may be surprised to know that most headaches, despite what you feel when experiencing them, do not originate from your skull or brain.

The cause is often rooted in areas like your neck muscles, and the nerves along the scalp may make it feel like the pain is inside your head.

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This connection between your neck and your nerves means that certain cervical ailments can manifest with dizziness, headaches, or nausea as well as neck pain.

The Mechanism

Your neck bends a lot. Every time you turn your head, the muscles and nerves react accordingly. When you move suddenly, suffer an injury, or develop arthritis or another ailment, conditions can result that causes a nerve to become “pinched”. This creates pain and sometimes stimulates the nerves on the scalp, which leads to dizziness or nausea. It can also cause headaches, a phenomena known as “referred pain” where pain is felt somewhere other than where the stimulus is present.

The Causes of Neck Pain, Dizziness and Nausea

With a small number of exceptions, most causes of the symptom trio are due to certain neck or cervical conditions that “spill over” and affect other parts of the body.

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When to See A Doctor

In addition to the above symptoms of meningitis, there are other conditions under which you should consult with a medical professional if you experience neck pain, nausea, and dizziness. If your symptoms come with tingling, numbness or loss of function in a limb, trouble breathing, decreased hearing, weakness, or if they suddenly appear after a recent injury, then seek medical attention.

These may be signs of a more serious infection or injury to one of the many vital structures within the neck. If you suffer a neck injury while already experiencing neck pain, medical attention is also advised.

Additionally, if you experience incontinence (loss of bowel or bladder control), inability to urinate, difficulty balancing, leg weakness, vomiting, or other sudden neurological symptoms like vision trouble or confusion, go to the emergency room as they may be signs of spinal injury.

Treating Neck Pain, Nausea, and Dizziness

Assuming you don’t have a condition warranting emergency medical attention, resolving the cause of the neck pain will usually clear up the dizziness and/or nausea as well. The tricky part is that even among patients with the same diagnoses, the effective treatments may differ. Finding what works best for you is often a matter of experimentation and talking to your doctor.

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Sources for Today’s Article:
“Barre-Lieou (Neck Pain, Blurred Vision, Nausea, Vertigo, Tinnitus),” Piedmont Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation web site, http://piedmontpmr.com/diagnose-treat-barre-lieou-neck-pain-blurred-vision-nausea-vertigo-tinnitus-2/, last accessed October 30, 2015.
“Cervicogenic Dizziness,” Vestibular Disorders Association web site, http://vestibular.org/cervicogenic-dizziness, last accessed October 30, 2015.
“Cervicogenic Dizziness: Causes, Treatments,” Step to Health web site, http://steptohealth.com/cervicogenic-dizziness-causes-remedies/, last accessed October 30, 2015.
McCoy, K.., “Gum Chewing Can Cause This Common Ailment,” EverydayHealth.com, last updated October 25, 2013; http://www.everydayhealth.com/neck-pain/neck-pain-headache.aspx, last accessed October 30, 2015.
“Neck Strain Causes, Symptoms, Treatment – When to Seek Medical Care,” EMedicineHealth web site, http://www.emedicinehealth.com/neck_strain/page4_em.htm, last accessed October 30, 2015.
Ratini, M., “Whiplash Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and M Ore,” WebMD web site, http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/pain-management-whiplash, last accessed October 30, 2015.

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