Cervicogenic headaches are pain that develops in the neck, and it can be felt up to different portions of the head. It is a type of headache that results from another condition, such as a neck trauma or an infection.
People may confuse cervicogenic headaches with migraine and tension headaches, both of which can cause neck pain. Cervicogenic headaches are secondary headaches. Secondary headaches result from an underlying condition, such as neck injuries, infections, or severe high blood pressure. This sets them apart from primary headaches, such as migraine and cluster headaches. Some headaches are caused by eyestrain, stress, tiredness, or trauma. If you feel a headache coming on, you may be able to isolate the cause. Cervicogenic headaches are different because they are caused by problems with the nerves, bones, or the muscles in your neck. Although you may feel pain in your head, it doesn’t start there. Instead, the pain you feel is referred pain from another location in your body.
Causes and symptoms
The cause of cervicogenic headaches arise from problems in the neck, different conditions can trigger this type of pain. These include degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis, a prolapsed disc in the neck, or a whiplash injury. Falling down or playing sports can also cause injury to the neck and trigger these headaches. Cervicogenic headaches may also occur due to your posture while sitting or standing at work. If you are a driver, carpenter, hair stylist, or someone who sits at a desk, you may unknowingly push your chin forward which moves your head out in front of your body. This is called cervical protraction. Sitting or standing in this position for long periods of time can put pressure or stress on the neck and base of the skull, triggering a cervicogenic headache. Falling asleep in an awkward position can also cause these types of headaches. This can happen if you sleep in a chair or while sitting up in bed. A compressed or pinched nerve in or near the neck is another cause of cervicogenic headaches.
One sign of this headache is that it comes from a sudden movement of your neck. Another is that you get head pain when your neck remains in the same position for some time. Other signs may include: Pain on one side of your head or face. Head pain when you cough, sneeze, or take a deep breath. An attack of pain that can last for hours or days. Even though cervicogenic headache and a migraine are different, some of the symptoms can be similar. For example, you may: Feel sick to your stomach and throw up. Have pain in your arm or shoulder. Feel sick or uncomfortable in bright light. Feel sick or uncomfortable with loud noise. Have blurry vision. Some people get it and a migraine at the same time. That can make it hard to know what's really going on.
Treat your cervicogenic headache with chiropractic therapy
Chiropractic treatment contains many techniques for the management of headaches and preventive procedures, such as passive and active exercises, spinal manipulation, and massage. Although chiropractic treatment is commonly used to prevent physical pains and issues, it’s proven to help treat cervicogenic headaches as well. Cervicogenic headaches respond differently from tension headaches and migraines when chiropractic treatment is carried out. There are many chiropractic therapy choices you can use for successful management of cervicogenic headaches.
Spinal manipulation is one of the most common procedures used by chiropractors. During the therapy, they work with devices that apply a moderate force to a particular joint of your bone. While applying the force, your spine may make an unexpected sound. The point of treatment is at the cervical bones that are located in the neck region at the topmost part of the spine. You might receive a massage of this area of focus during spinal manipulation in order to get rid of cervicogenic headaches.
You might try an exercise involving deep neck flexing. The professional healthcare provider will guide you through this procedure, which involves the active movement of your joints and muscles. Your healthcare professional will direct you to perform some flexion exercises such as chin tucks, lying face down to perform head nods. You can contract your muscles through these exercises for several seconds while repeating the exercises until you feel relieved. The essence of this therapy is to give the neck a deep stretch and make it more flexible to reduce headaches.
Joint mobilization is another therapy for treating cervicogenic headaches. It involves the passive movement of your joint to help reduce pain in the neck and enhance the movement of the head. When used for treating headaches, this procedure is targeted at the cervical bone.
Trigger point therapy reduces severe headaches by a large percentage. The relief can also extend to the neck region where the pain is also felt. It also enhances the flexibility or movement of the neck muscles. Trigger point therapy can be used for the treatment of headaches aimed at relieving trigger points. It is therefore used by chiropractors to relieve chronic pain, stress or anxiety in specific areas of the neck beneath the skeletal muscles. Chiropractors normally use this treatment therapy alongside spinal mobilization, spinal adjustment, and exercise restoration for the successful treatment or management of cervicogenic headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches can be treated using some procedures related to chiropractic therapies. These treatments are done on the spine of the neck to relieve pain and help improve the flexibility of the neck. Most chiropractic treatments include spinal manipulation, neck flexing exercises, trigger point therapy, and joint mobilization. They are all good for the successful management of cervicogenic headaches.