Do you have a headache that has been bothering you but you just can’t find the source for it? Headaches are a common occurrence for some people and they can originate from a number of sources. But did you know that headaches can also originate from the upper part of the neck? They are called cervicogenic headaches or cervical headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches can be caused by excessive stresses placed on the upper cervical spine. This could be due to trauma, whiplash injuries, degeneration of the cervical spine such as cervical spondylosis or bad posture such as a forward head posture or improper sleeping posture.
Watch this video for more details of the cervical spine and how cervicogenic headaches occur
Here are five ways to know if you have a cervicogenic headache:
#1. A typical pattern of cervicogenic headaches is the dull achy pain that originate in the neck and radiate up into the side of the head, behind the ears or even into the front of the head or the eyes. The reason for this is the nerves that come out of the upper three cervical vertebras supply the head . When these nerves are irritated it can manifest as pain in the head.
#2. The headache is usually accompanied by a stiffness in the neck. However, if you have had stiffness for a long time you may not feel it till you firmly touch or apply mild pressure to the neck muscles.
#3. Cervical headaches are one sided and do not shift from side to side. When the nerves are sending the pain signals into one side of the head, the headache stays on that particular side. This is unlike a tension type of headache which is usually across the forehead and more diffuse or a migraine which is a pounding pain over the whole head.
#4. Pain from cervicogenic headaches is usually aggravated by certain neck movements and relieved by massaging the neck muscles. There can be a loss of range on certain movements. This is not seen in other types of headaches.
#5. Cervicogenic headaches can be associated with double vision, fainting, nausea and vomiting. These features are similar to a migraine headache but a distinguishing feature is the light sensitivity that is present in migraine headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches can be managed by decreasing the muscle spasm, stretching the tight muscles in the neck, postural correction and setting up your workplace ergonomically. If you want to know more about these, join my free community where we discuss this and similar topics in a judgement free friendly group.
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