Pain at the base of the skull, the top of the neck: What causes it, what exercises can you do to relieve it and when do you need to get it checked out


Pain in the base of the skull

If you have pain at the junction between your head and your neck, at the base of the skull, you are not alone. We treat many people with pain in this region and the good news is that physiotherapy or osteopathy is highly effective in treating your pain. We use a combination of hands on techniques and, most importantly, exercises to improve the strength of the muscles that support the head and neck. Check out the video below to learn more.


What causes pain in the base of the skull

There are many structures that can cause pain at the base of the skull including joints, nerves, blood vessels, muscles, tendons and ligaments and our physiotherapists and osteopaths are fully trained in diagnosing these structures. Check out the video below to learn more. 


When do you need to get it checked out

There are a number of things we need to rule out that might need immediate attention so we strongly recommend that you see a doctor immediately if you have been in an accident or fallen and/or if you have any of the following symptoms: dizziness, problems with speech or swallow, nausea, visual disturbance, double vision, ringing in the ears or tinnitus, fainting, blackouts, pins and needles in both hands, arms or legs, reduced sensation or power in the arms or legs particularly if it suddenly worsens, night pain, pain that comes on for no reason and does not change with different movement or positions and if you are feeling fatigued or generally unwell. 


What can you do yourself to reduce the pain?

There are lots of things you can try to alleviate the pain:

  1. Keeping the area warm. You can use a hot pack as long as you are careful not to get burnt.
  2. It is important to keep the area supported with pillows when you are sleeping
  3. Keep it moving as much as possible as long as you have none of the above symptoms
  4. Self massage as long as you have none of the symptoms above
  5. Exercises – please see the video below to learn more about this
  6. General exercise like walking or cycling as long as it does not aggravate your pain


Would you like to get your pain treated by experts?

We hope this has been helpful. To find out more or to book an appointment please email

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