Cervicogenic Headache

Situation: A cervicogenic headache is the medical term for the type of headache that starts in your neck. Your neck is made up of multiple bones known as vertebrae. Facet joints and discs connect each vertebra to the vertebra above and below it. During certain neck movements or sustained postures stress is put on the joints, muscles, ligaments and nerves of the neck. If the forces are beyond what the tissues can withstand, they can become damaged. The result can be a constant dull ache at the back of the head, although sometimes it can be experienced behind the eyes or temple region.

Causes: Cervicogenic headaches typically occur when activities place excessive stress on the upper joints of the neck. This may happen suddenly with traumatic whiplash or heavy lifting—or, more commonly, it can be the result of repetitive or prolonged activities such as slouching, poor posture, improper lifting or carrying technique, excessive bending or twisting of the neck, working at a computer, or activities like housework that require the use your arms in front of your body.

Symptoms: Individuals with cervicogenic headaches usually experience an onset of neck pain and headache during the injuring activity. It is also common for cervicogenic headache sufferers to experience headache and neck pain, stiffness, difficulty turning their head, and pins and needles or numbness in the upper back, shoulders, arms, and hands after the activity, often the next morning.

Treatment: The chiropractor will diagnose your condition and determine what type of treatments and modalities are appropriate for you. Occasionally, diagnostic tools like an X-ray, MRI or CT scan may be required. Treatment options can include chiropractic care, acupuncture, physical therapy, and massage therapy.

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