Headache & Migraine Pain

Headaches & migraines can be extremely unpleasant and impact almost 50% of the population. In many cases headaches and migraines come from problems in the neck and are known as "cervicogenic headache." Perhaps the most common cause of a cervicogenic headache is when there is limited movement of the joints in your upper cervical spine.

In a healthy neck these joints are able to be independent of one another. In some cases restrictions in the upper spine create a very uncomfortable cycle of stiffness and tightness in the muscles. This can often cause the nerves leading to your head to become irritated and thus leading to your headache.

Symptoms Of Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches are most often prominent on one side of your head, but on occasion can also be issues on both the right and left sides of the head. Pain often starts at the base of your skull and moves upwards towards the top of your head and in some cases to your eyes.

In rare instances, you may even experience pain in your arms. These headache episodes may last anywhere from an hour to multiple days at a time. The pain is continuous but also fluctuates in it's severity and is often described as "deep." Some individuals may also notice chronic neck tenderness and stiffness.

What Leads To Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headache symptoms may be triggered or reproduced by awkward movements and postures. The condition is more common in patients who have recently experienced trauma, especially a motor vehicle accident or an earlier concussion.

The condition often affects middle-aged adults and is more common in women at a rate of four to one. Cervicogenic headaches are sometimes brought on by an individual having poor posture, or a "slouched" or "forward head" posture.

When To Go To The Doctor

If you are finding that your headaches are becoming progressively worse then it is time to inform your doctor.

If at any point you are starting to experience a 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 contact our office immediately. 

Getting Over Neck Pain

Not drinking enough fluids and becoming dehydrated can aggravate or cervicogenic headaches.

Make 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 form due to a mechanical problem, medicines and prescriptions are often ineffective. Fortunately, our office has several tools to help solve this problem.

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