Cervicogenic headaches

Introduction:

Cervicogenic headaches refer to headaches which originate from tissues and structures in the cervical spine or neck region. The headache is generally a very constant, strong, yet dull pain. The most common location of pain is around the orbital (eye) region and upper neck area but may also include other areas of the face, head and neck. The headache will typically last for one to three days and reoccur ever one to four weeks until properly treated. The headache may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, ringing of the ears, and sensitivity to light and sound - similar to migraine headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches are caused by irritation or injury to the structures of the upper neck region, resulting in local neck pain as well as referred pain to the temporal and facial regions. This headache is often precipitated or aggravated by head and neck movements and by applying deep pressure to the muscles of the upper cervical area.

Causes:

Cervicogenic headaches are caused by irritation or injury to the structures of the upper neck region, resulting in local neck pain as well as referred pain to the temporal and facial regions. This headache is often precipitated or aggravated by head and neck movements and by applying deep pressure to the muscles of the upper cervical area.
Nerves in the neck converge in the trigeminal nerve. This is the largest nerve in the skull. It originates in the brain stem and supplies sensation to the face. This nerve can generate pain signals to the facial area that the brain may interpret as headache. Pain is usually on one side; even if it affects both sides of the head it is usually more severe on one side. The quality of the headache may be difficult to distinguish from an aching tension headache or a mild migraine without aura. Cervicogenic headaches can result from prolonged poor posture (such as that caused by sitting in front of a computer keyboard or driving daily for long periods), arthritis, injuries of the upper spine, or abnormalities in the cervical spine (the spinal bones in the neck).

Treatment:

The treatment for a cervicogenic headache, involves a comprehensive evaluation of the possible causes and contributing factors. This involves a physical therapy, and an expert spine therapist should be referred for the treatment.
There are certain injections which are effective in these headaches. The most effective injections are x-ray guided facet joint blocks, especially of the upper facet levels. Caution! These should absolutely only be performed by a physician who is well trained, skilled, and experienced in such procedures, and if the investigation leads to the discovery of anything significant, then further treatment will be taken from there.
Chiropractic management of cervicogenic headaches is the best way to eliminate these headaches. Without addressing the problems in cervical spine the headache will continue to persist and worsen. Individuals should be warned that relying on analgesics to remedy cervicogenic headaches does nothing to correct the cause of the headache and generally worsens the headache in what's known as the "rebound effect".
Pain Medics Copyrights. © 2007 Pain Medics. All rights reserved