There are many different kinds of headaches, such as migraine headaches, stress headaches, and more. Many of us suffer from headaches once in a while, particularly if we are feeling exhausted or stressed. But there are some headaches which can be caused by a condition in the neck or cervical spine, and if you experience a lot of headaches which seem to originate from this area, then you may be having cervicogenic headaches. So, what exactly is a cervicogenic headache, what should you know about it, and how should you treat it? Let’s find out.
An overview of cervicogenic headaches
The thing about cervicogenic headaches is that they can sometimes have almost the same symptoms as migraine headaches, so you can find it difficult to distinguish one from the other. But the main difference between the two is that migraine headaches have their root in the brain, while cervicogenic headaches have their origin in the neck or cervical spine or the base of the skull.
Some cervicogenic headaches can result from stress, trauma, or simple tiredness, but they can also result from too much strain on the eyes. If you feel that a headache is coming, you may be able to determine its cause. A cervicogenic headache is different from other headaches in the sense that it can be due to issues with the bones, muscles, or nerves in the neck. Even if your pain is in the head, this doesn’t mean it begins there; it can start from another area altogether.
The usual symptoms of cervicogenic headaches
Aside from throbbing pain in the head, you may also experience other symptoms associated with cervicogenic headaches such as pain on one particular side of the face or head, a stiff and sore neck, pain surrounding the eyes, pain whilst sneezing or coughing, or a headache caused by specific movement or neck posturing.
Since cervicogenic headaches are similar in symptoms to migraine headaches, you may also feel sensitivity to light and noise, an upset stomach, and blurred vision.
The causes of cervicogenic headaches
Different conditions can cause cervicogenic headaches, but these conditions will originate from the neck. These conditions include degenerative ones like a prolapsed neck disc, osteoarthritis, or whiplash. If you become injured while playing sports or you fall and hurt your neck, you can have cervicogenic headaches as well.
But cervicogenic headaches can also occur just because of the way you stand or sit. If you are often at an office desk or if you’re a carpenter, driver, or hairstylist, you can unconsciously jut your chin out, and this moves the head in front of the body (a condition called cervical protraction). If you sleep awkwardly, you can get a cervicogenic headache as well. Neck nerves which are pinched or compressed can also cause cervicogenic headaches.
What you can do
You should visit a specialist like a chiropractor from a specialist chiropractor clinic such as Canary Wharf Chiropractic so they can determine if your headaches are cervicogenic. If they are, they may place you under specific treatment that can include physical therapy as well as medication to manage the pain when necessary.
Image attributed toPixabay.com