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What is Cervicogenic Headache? How Do You Treat It?

Cervicogenic Headache

What is cervicogenic headache? Chiropractor Near Me

In 2016, World Health Organization mentiond that “Half to three quarters of adults aged 18–65 years in the world have had headache in the last year.” Especially in today’s technological advancement and fast-paced societ,more and more people suffer from headaches.

However, headaches does not necessarily derive from any structures inside the skull. Cervical vertebrae problems can also cause headache. This type of headache is called cervicogenic headache (CH).

cervicogenic headache (CH)

Cervicogenic headache is caused by the organic or functional lesions of cervical or neck soft tissues, with chronic and unilateral headache associated with neck pain as the main manifestations. In spite of the similarities of migraine and CH, CH is a secondary headache that originates from the upper cervical spine and refers pain to the head.

If you constantly stress your neck due to anterior head carriage that is a head position of shifting forward, you may feel pain in the back of your skull and radiate to the same side of forehead, around the eye, temple and ear. The pain can be exacerbated with neck movements.

Patients with mild symptoms may be self resolving with home exercises and stretches, but severe cases may last for several hours or even days. CH mostly occurs between 20 and 60 years old. Young kids can be affected with CH and the one with CH was as young as 6 years old.

This condition affects both males and females around the same ratio, but is slightly more common in women. In recent years, there has been an increasing trend of CH among high school students, which may be related to excessive study pressure and prolonged use of smart phones.

How to prevent CH? Chiropractor Near Me

The key of the prevention of CH rely on the self-management. When using a computer, you can always adjust the angle and height of the screen at your eye levels so that you do not look down or up for too long to stress your neck. Likewise, you should hold your phone at a better angle in order to not compromise your cervical spine. Moreover, jerking your head may lead to neck muscle strain or neck pain.

prevent CH

After prolonged sitting for work and study, stretching your neck and upper back muscles, and gently rotating your head can prevent neck pain and headaches. Chin tuck is an exercise to strengthen deep neck flexors to correct the head position at the same time to stretch the suboccipital muscles. Respectively tilting and rotating your head to the left then to the right repeats for 10 times. This exercise that can prevent neck stiffness should perform slowly and gently.

How to treat CH? Chiropractor Near Me

The treatment of CH includes drug therapy, physical therapy, nerve block therapy and invasive intervention. For patients with mild symptoms, rolled towels or round pillows can be used to restore the normal physiological curvature of cervical spine for pain relief. If it does not improve the symptoms, you should consult health care professionals and consider the treatment as follows:

1、Spinal manipulation

CH is thought to involve the upper cervical spine (C1-C3) that refers pain to the corresponding structures. Manual therapy applies high velocity low amplitude technique to correct spinal subluxation to to decompress the affected spinal nerves. Chiropractic adjustment can also release the tension of neck muscles and improve cervical range of motion.

2、Acupuncture treatment

Acupuncture therapy is a traditional treatment method in Chinese medicine. According to the theory of meridians and acupoints, specific acupoints are selected to treat CH. The acupoints at the junction of the patient’s neck were selected to treat CH by electroacupuncture. The headache was treated by relieving spasm, releasing adhesion, promoting blood circulation and relieving pain.

3、Acupotomy therapy

Acupotomy therapy has been a new treatment method emerging in recent years. According to the theory of soft tissue pathogenesis and anatomical theory, acupotomy is applied to the local area of the patient’s muscle and ligament to relieve the headache symptoms by reducing the local tension, improving the local vascular and nerve compression of the lesion.

4、Local injection therapy

Occipital nerve blockade is used to treat cervical headache. Nerve block therapy may improve the symptoms of CH with no recurrence for approximately 6 months.

5、Other treatments

The commonly used treatment drugs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, pain killers and so on. The traditional Chinese medicine treatment mostly uses the blood-activating medicine treatment to relax their head and neck.

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