Tension Neck Syndrome

Tension Neck Syndrome, also known as “tension neck syndrome” or “cervicogenic headache,” is characterised by neck pain and muscle tension, often headaches. This syndrome is commonly associated with prolonged periods of maintaining an awkward head position or repetitive neck movements, such as those often seen in desk work or prolonged use of electronic devices.

Neck Pain

Symptoms of Tension Neck Syndrome

Critical features of Tension Neck Syndrome include:

Neck Pain

Individuals with tension neck syndrome experience discomfort or pain in the neck region. The pain is often described as a dull, aching sensation.

Muscle Tension

There is increased muscle tension, especially in the neck and shoulder muscles. This tension can contribute to stiffness and reduced range of motion.


Tension headaches are a common symptom of this syndrome. These headaches typically involve a feeling of tightness or pressure around the head and are often described as mild to moderate in intensity.


Poor posture, such as slouching or maintaining an awkward head position for an extended period, can contribute to tension neck syndrome.

Repetitive Movements

Engaging in repetitive neck movements or maintaining a static neck position for prolonged periods (such as during computer work) may contribute to developing tension neck syndrome.

Stress and Anxiety

Emotional stress and anxiety can exacerbate symptoms. Stress may lead to increased muscle tension, contributing to the discomfort associated with tension neck syndrome.

Tension Neck Syndrome Pain

How to Manage and Prevent Tension Neck Syndrome

Management and prevention strategies for tension neck syndrome often involve:

Posture Correction

Proper posture, especially during desk work or prolonged sitting, can help alleviate symptoms.

Stretching and Exercises

Regular neck stretches and strengthening exercises can help improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension.

Ergonomic Changes

Adjusting the ergonomics of workspaces, including the height of chairs and computer monitors, can promote better neck and shoulder alignment.

Stress Management

Strategies for managing stress and anxiety can be beneficial, as emotional factors can contribute to muscle tension.

Heat or Cold Therapy

Applying heat or cold packs to the affected area may relieve pain and muscle tension.

If symptoms persist or are severe, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist or physician, for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate management. They can provide tailored recommendations based on the individual’s symptoms and contributing factors.

Dr Clem Bonney

Tension headaches are a common condition that Dr Clem Bonney sees frequently and can be treated. Dr Clem Bonney regularly reviews those with tension headaches and identifies the underlying condition and arranges referrals as needed.

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