Cervicogenic Headache


Cervicogenic Headache

What is Cervicogenic Headache?

Cervicogenic Headache is often confused with migraines or tension headaches as both of them cause neck pain. In cervicogenic headache, the pain develops in the neck, but it is felt in the head.

Headaches are of two types:-
 Primary Headache
Secondary Headache.

Migraines, cluster headaches, tension aches fall under Primary headaches.

Secondary headaches are caused by underlying or secondary conditions such neck injuries, high blood pressure or infections. Cervicogenic headaches fall under secondary headaches.
In cervicogenic headache, the pain emerges from the neck and the back of the head and travels towards the front of the head.
Other symptoms include:-
●     Flexibility in neck movement gets reduced.
●    Pain experienced on one side of the head or face.
●    Pain persists in the neck, shoulder or arm on one side.
●    Head pain aggravated by certain neck movements or some positions.
●    Stiffness of the neck.
●    Nausea
●    Blurred vision
●    Sensitive towards light and noise.

The Causes of Cervicogenic Headaches
The Cervicogenic Headaches is caused due to some structural problems in the neck and also due to problems with the vertebrae located at the top of the spine and is referred to as cervical vertebrae or more specifically the C2-3 vertebrae.

The pain is mostly felt or  common with  people who are associated with professions that involve restriction in neck movement which result in strain. 
IT professionals who have to fix their head towards the computer, hair stylist, manual labourers, drivers all are prone toward cervicogenic headaches.
People also develop cervicogenic headaches after a neck injury. This is popularly known as whiplash.

Apart from whiplash, medical conditions that cause cervicogenic headaches are:-
●    Tumors
●    Infections
●    Fractures
●    Arthritis of the upper spine.


Treatment may differ from person to person depending on their symptoms and severity of the pain.
Some treatments for cervicogenic headaches are:-


Medicines work effectively to treat cervicogenic headaches. It helps to subdue the pain. Medications to treat cervicogenic headaches are:-
●    Anti inflammatory, non steroidal such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
●    Muscle relaxers
Nerve Block-
This may  your pain temporarily and can help you work better having some physical therapy. This occurs through injecting pain- numbing medicine into the nerves.

Spinal manipulation 
 This includes a combination of physical therapy, joint movement and message. This is to be done under a specialist, a physio therapist, a chiropractor, or an osteopath.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
This is popularly known as TENS. In TENS small electrodes are fixed on skin and electrical signals are sent through it to the areas of pain. 

Radio frequency ablation 
Also called radio frequency neurolysis. The procedure uses radio waves to heat the tip of a needle. This heated needle is applied to the nerve that is causing the pain. 

Surgery is not a common choice. But if the pain becomes unbearable then your doctor may suggest surgery to prevent your nerves from getting squeezed.

Home remedies
Specific exercises, yoga help in pain relief. Deep breathing exercises, relaxation exercises are effective in pain management.

Cervicogenic headaches should not be left unattended otherwise it could become worse. If conditions persist, attending a doctor is very essential.