Eye Strain and Pain

So many of my patients present with vague headaches and pain around the eyes. Well, it usually originates at the back of the neck. There is a twig of the trigeminal nerve (the sensory nerve of the had and neck) that connects to the tendon at the base of the skull. Lifting, cradling the phone, straining, grimacing during an examination, whiplash and even emotional tension can cause a knot at the base of the skull on either side of the cervical spine. This knot causes the eye pain and headaches and only needs to be recognized to be relieved.

If you have chronic sharp or dull pain that seems to arise deep in the eye, think Occipital Neuralgia, which is what this syndrome is called. You may know it as a tension headache. The pain can actually be referred pain to the forehead, jaw, ear or entire head. Many doctors and dentists don’t realize the remote source of the pain so you must be aware of this common syndrome. You can actually feel the knot in the neck and in the shoulder; then press firmly with two fingers. This will elicit neck discomfort and often exacerbate your eye pain. The ultimate treatment is deep tissue massage and not chiropractic or physical therapy.

I would suspect that each of you has experienced a tension headache. Now you know what to do…get a massage.