Pain At The Base Of Skull.

Question

Asked by Naoj

Pain At The Base Of Skull.

If I am sitting and put my head back in a reclining position ( on a head rest ) for too long, it results in the neck at the base of my skull becoming very painful. It gets to the point where I can hardly move my head as the entire neck area becomes quite stiff and painful. Is there a plausible reason why this happens?

Answer

Prolonged, sustained neck extension can cause painful facet joints of the cervical spine. When the chin is pulled farther away from the chest, the back of the neck pinches these small joints of the spine. As one ages, these small joints also develop arthritis; just like knee joints and hip joints which develop such severe arthritis that require joint replacements. Unfortunately, facet joints of the spine cannot get replaced.

Simple measures to deal with cervical facet joint pain is to stop extending the neck: looking up, allowing the chin to drift away from the chest. So, on your chair, try a thicker head rest pillow that does to force the back of your head to reach for it. Reaching for a pillow often throws the neck out of alignment whether in a chair or in bed.

How to Avoid Back and Neck Pain

Sweet dreams!

Dr. Christina Lasich, MD