What is a Cervicogenic (Cervical) Headache?
As an executive mum juggling work and family responsibilities, headaches can be a common but debilitating part of your day. Have you experienced a headache that seems to stem from your neck? If so, you might be suffering from cervicogenic headaches. Understanding this type of headache is crucial for finding effective relief. In this blog, lets discuss cervicogenic headaches and how they can affect busy mums like you.

Our cervical spine is made up of seven vertebra that can be roughly divided into an upper and lower portion. Between every two vertebra there are nerves exiting the spine on the right and left. These nerves supply different parts of the body. When the nerves in the mid to lower cervical spine are pinched it can manifest as nerve pain (tingling numbness, burning, heaviness, pain, etc) in the arms, forearms, hand and fingers or stiffness in the shoulders. When the nerves in the upper to mid cervical spine are pinched it can manifest as cervicogenic headache

Cervicogenic headaches can be caused due to various neck issues such as  disc bulgestenosisarthritis, spinal degeneration or a simple  neck spraincervical spondylosis, trauma, whiplash injuries or even poor posture (forward head posture or improper sleeping positions) can contribute to cervicogenic headaches. 

Key Signs of Cervicogenic Headaches: 
1. Pain Originating in the Neck: Cervicogenic headaches typically present as a dull, achy or sharp pain or stiffness that starts in the neck and radiates to the side of the head,  TMJ or jaw joint, behind the ears, or even to the front of the head or eyes. 

2. Accompanying Neck Stiffness: These headaches are often accompanied by stiffness in the neck. If the stiffness has been present for a long time, it may only be noticeable when you touch or apply mild pressure to the neck muscles.

3. One-Sided Headache: Cervicogenic headaches are usually one-sided and do not shift from side to side. This differentiates them from tension headaches, which are often across the forehead, and migraines, which can cause pounding pain over the entire head. If the nerves are pinched on both sides of the cervical spine it can manifest as a two sided headache but these headaches tend to be independent of each other. 

4. Pain Aggravated by Neck Movements: Movements of the neck can aggravate the pain, while pain relief modalities applied to the neck muscles often decrease the headache. Additionally, there may be a loss of range in certain neck movements, a characteristic not seen in other types of headaches.

5. Associated Symptoms: Cervicogenic headaches can be accompanied by double vision, fainting, nausea, and vomiting. While these symptoms are similar to those of migraines, cervicogenic headaches typically lack the light sensitivity that is common with migraines.

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