Headaches affect nearly half of the population. Fifteen to twenty percent of all headaches originate from difficulties in the neck and are categorized as "cervicogenic headache." The most frequent trigger for a cervicogenic headache is restricted movement of the joints in your upper cervical spine. Usually, all of the joints in your neck move easily and independently. Sometimes, limitations in the upper cervical spine initiate a severe cycle of stiffness, muscle tightness and joint swelling. This may cause stress to the delicate nerves heading from your neck into the back of your head.
Cervicogenic headaches are most generally one-sided, but occasionally may be present on both sides of the head. Pain frequently spreads from the foundation of your skull approaching the top of your head and sometimes over your eyes. In rare cases, the pain may move into your arm. These headache experiences may last from hours to days. The pain is constant but shifting and is often described as "deep." You may additionally see chronic neck tenderness and stiffness.
Cervicogenic headache signs may be triggered or reproduced by awkward actions and postures. The condition is more prevalent in patients who have recently undergone trauma, particularly a motor vehicle accident or an earlier concussion. The condition often affects middle-aged adults and is more prevalent in women at a standard of four to one. Cervicogenic headaches are sometimes brought on by poor posture, including a "slouched" or "forward head" posture.
Be sure to tell us if you notice your headaches are becoming progressively worse over time, if you experience a sudden onset of a severe headache, a new or unfamiliar headache, or if you notice notable neck stiffness, rash, numbness or tingling on your face, light-headedness, dizziness, loss of consciousness, difficulty speaking, difficulty swallowing, difficulty walking, nausea, numbness radiating into your arms or legs, or fever.
Being dehydrated can intensify or cervicogenic headaches. Make sure that you are taking 6-8 glasses of water each day, more in hot weather or when you've been perspiring heavily. Since cervicogenic headaches emerge from a mechanical problem, medicines are usually ineffective. Luckily, our office has several tools to resolve this problem.