Headaches are prevelent and impact almost almost half of the population. Fifteen to twenty percent of all headaches are found to be attributed to issues and problems in the neck and are classified as "cervicogenic headache." The most typical trigger for cervicogenic headache is limited movement of the joints in your upper cervical spine. Normally, each of the joints in your neck move freely and independently. Sometimes, restrictions in the upper cervical spine initiate a painful cycle of stiffness, muscle tightness and joint inflammation. This in many cases will create irritation to the sensitive nerves leading from your neck into the back of your head.
Cervicogenic headaches are typically one-sided, but in some cases may be felt on both sides of the head. Pain often radiates from the base of your skull toward the top of your head and sometimes over your eyes. In rare instances, the pain may travel into your arm. These headache episodes can persist and go on for hours or even days. The pain is constant but at the same time fluctuating and is often described as "deep." You may also feel in some cases chronic neck tenderness and stiffness.
Cervicogenic headache symptoms may be caused or retriggered by awkward or unusal movements and postures. The condition is more common in patients who have recently been involved in some sort of tramatic injury such as a car accident or an earlier concussion. The condition commonly impacts middle-aged adults and is more common in women at a rate of four to one. Cervicogenic headaches are in some cases accompanied by poor posture, including a "slouched" or "forward head" posture.
If you start to notice that your headache symptoms are getting more severe be sure to contact us and lt us know in as much detail as possible what you are experiencing in terms of symptoms. Be sure to tell us if you notice your headaches are becoming progressively worse over time, if you experience sudden onset of a severe headache, a new or unfamiliar headache, or if you notice significant 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.
If you are dehydrated this can make your symptoms worse and further aggravate or cervicogenic headaches. Be sure that you are drinking 6-8 glasses of water each day, more in hot weather or when you've been sweating. Since cervicogenic headaches result from a mechanical problem, medicines are often ineffective. Fortunately, our office has multiple tools to help solve this problem.