Contrary to popular belief, some headaches don’t necessarily start hurting from the head. Take the case of a cervicogenic headache where problems start arising the neck. So what is a cervicogenic headache? What are the symptoms to look out for? And what makes it different from your regular migraine?
We talk about the specifics of the cervicogenic in this article.
What is it?
According to the American Migraine Foundation, the term cervicogenic headache is referred pain in the head from another source. Simply put, it’s a secondary headache coming from issues outside its point of origin like the muscles, nerves or bones in your upper neck (cervical spine) and occipital regions (back of the head).
A cervicogenic is much different than a migraine simply because migraines are caused by problems relating to or are found in the head eye strain and stress being examples while cervicogenic headaches are usually caused by problems or issues found on the neck although cervicogenic headaches can often mimic the symptoms of migraines they are completely different.
The term cervicogenic headaches are often misused as a headache with neck pain as a symptom but it’s quite the opposite and while it may be quite confusing to pinpoint the source of your headaches having carefully diagnosed by your doctor is a great way to tell whether or not you are suffering from a cervicogenic headache.
We hope that by giving you some more information about the cervicogenic headache can help you out a little more in case you experience a particularly nasty headache.
What causes it?
So what can be some of the causes when you have cervicogenic headaches? We’ve listed some of them off.
- Degenerative diseases: Cervicogenic headaches are common amongst those who suffer degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis especially if it directly affects the cervical spine.
- Prior neck injuries: Prior neck injuries due to falling down or sports injuries could also be a cause for cervicogenic headaches.
- Maintaining the wrong posture: People who work while sitting for hours on end or for people who sleep in an awkward position can also be affected by cervicogenic headaches.
What are the symptoms?
Aside from throbbing headaches that could range from the back of the head of the head to the front or behind the eye, here are some of the other symptoms that may be:
- One-sided pain of your head or face
- A stiff neck
- Pain experienced when coughing or sneezing
- Developing headaches with certain neck postures or movement
And while migraines are completely different from cervicogenic headaches, they may often share the same symptoms. Some of them being:
- Arm or shoulder pain
- Sensitivity to bright lights and noise
- Blurry vision
Being diagnosed by a doctor can certainly help you in relieving cervicogenic headaches if you are experiencing it. Here are a few of the ways you can treat and manage cervicogenic headaches.
Over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or muscle relaxants can be prescribed to you by the doctor to relieve pain depending on which part of your neck is affected.
the doctor can also prescribe physical therapy to strengthen your neck muscle and improve joint mobility.
Surgery or injection
Spine surgery or nerve blocks can also be a way to relieve pressure on your neck to relieve your headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches can be quite tricky to diagnose and tell apart from your usual migraines but with the help of your doctor and some much-needed knowledge about what cervicogenic headaches are you can be on top of the headaches and resume your daily activities without worries.