Understanding Headache Pain
Headaches are extremly unplesaent and impact nearly half of the population. Fifteen to twenty percent of all headaches are caused by problems in the neck and are classified as "cervicogenic headache." The most common trigger for cervicogenic headache is a decrease in the movement of the joints in your upper cervical spine. In a healthy neck, each of the joints in your neck are able to move freely and independently of each other.
Sometimes, restrictions in the upper cervical spine initiate a uncomfortable and at times painful cycle of stiffness, muscle tightness and joint inflammation. This can create irritation to the sensitive nerves running from your neck into the back of your head.
Cervicogenic headaches are most often one-sided, but in certain circumstances can also be present on both sides of the head. Pain often will be prominante in the base of your skull and continue up towards the top of your head and sometimes over your eyes. In some rare instances, the pain may travel into your arm. These headache episodes at times may last from hours to days.
The pain is often continuous but fluctuating in it's level of severity and is often described as "deep." You may also notice chronic tenderness and stiffness in your neck.
Cervicogenic headache symptoms may be triggered or reproduced by awkward neck movements or postures. The condition is significantly more commonly found in patients who have recently experienced trauma, namely in a motor vehicle accident or an earlier concussion.
The condition will in many cases impact middle-aged adults and is more common in women at a rate of four to one. Cervicogenic headaches are in many cases accompanied by poor posture, including a "slouched" or "forward head" posture.
Always be sure to inform your doctor if you notice your headaches are becoming progressively worse over time, if at any point you are finding yourself experiencing a sudden onset of a severe headache, a new or unfamiliar headache, or if you notice significant neck stiffness, rash, numbness or tingling on your face, light-headedness, dizziness, loss of consciousness, difficulty speaking, difficulty swallowing, difficulty walking, nausea, numbness radiating into your arms or legs, or fever.
Being dehydrated can often make your cervicogenic headaches considerably worse. Make sure that you are drinking somewhere in the area of 6-8 glasses of water each and every day, and more in hot weather or when you've been sweating. Since cervicogenic headaches result from a mechanical problem, medicines are often not an effective form of treatment. Fortunately, at our office we offer several tools to help solve this problem.