Although the term cervicogenic may not be a familiar one, that doesn’t mean you haven’t already suffered from a cervicogenic headache. In fact, many people mistake these headaches for migraines.

Understanding these types of headaches, what causes them, and what the available treatment options are could be the best possible steps toward getting help and finding relief.

What Is a Cervicogenic Headache?

Although felt primarily in the head, a cervicogenic headache actually starts in the neck.

Cervicogenic headaches are secondary headaches… The pain caused by a cervicogenic headache begins in the neck and the back of the head and radiates towards the front of the head. People may confuse cervicogenic headaches with migraines and tension headaches, both of which can cause neck pain. (Medical News Today)

Those suffering with cervicogenic headaches may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain on one side of the face or head
  • Reduced range of neck motion
  • Pain and stiffness in the neck
  • Eye pain and/or blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Pain lasting hours/days
  • Nausea/vomiting

As you can see, the symptoms often overlap with those of migraine headaches. However, the root causes differ.

Understanding what causes cervicogenic headaches can sometimes help you manage (or even prevent) flare-ups.

What Causes Cervicogenic Headaches?

The causes of cervicogenic headaches are varied.

  • Underlying conditions. Problems with the bones in your neck, your joints, or your neck muscles can accumulate over time, leading to an onset of cervicogenic headaches. Compressed disks, small fractures, strains, and sprains can all cause issues.
  • Posture. Holding your head in certain positions, particularly far out from your body, can lead to an increased risk of cervicogenic headaches, since such a shift in weight on your neck and resulting strain on your body lead to negative outcomes.
  • Tumors or growths. The upper spine and neck areas are delicate. Even small tumors or growths can add extra pressure and lead to cervicogenic headaches.

Though these are three of the more major causes, there are other issues and conditions that may be at the root of cervicogenic headaches.

It’s important to consult a medical professional to assess your risk factors, possible causes behind your chronic headaches, and potential treatment options.

Treatment Options

With the help of a medical professional, you can receive a diagnosis and access the best options to treat your cervicogenic headaches.

Those treatments may include any or all of the following options:

Medication

Both over-the-counter and prescription options may prove effective depending on the root cause of your recurring headaches.

Exercises and/or Physical Therapy

Avoiding movements and activities that worsen pain and strengthening your neck muscles are both important steps in your treatment.

Injections

Extreme conditions may require an injection of some sort of nerve block.

Surgery

In rare cases, surgery may be required to fix any serious, underlying condition(s) that may be causing your chronic cervicogenic headaches.

Consult the Professionals

If you suspect that you may be suffering from cervicogenic headaches, the best thing to do is consult with a doctor.

Because this type of headache is often confused with a migraine, many people dealing with them often go a long time without being able to access the right sort of treatment that could best deal with their underlying problems and prevent the headaches from recurring.

If that’s you, we’re here to help.

Stop Migraines Can Help

Chronic headaches can be debilitating. Whether you’re dealing with migraines, cervicogenic headaches, or some other issue, the suffering can feel unending.

Fortunately, you don’t have to struggle alone. Help is available.

For more information on how you can find relief from chronic headaches and tools to reach a diagnosis and helpful treatments, please contact Stop Migraines today.

We look forward to serving you.