What are Cervicogenic Headaches?
Headaches affect almost half of the population. There are many different types of headaches with the most common being migraine, sinus, and tension-type headaches. A significant percentage of all headaches actually arise from problems in the cervical, or neck region and are classified as cervicogenic headaches.
The most common trigger for a cervicogenic headache is limited movement of the joints in your cervical spine. Sometimes these joint restrictions can initiate a painful cycle of stiffness, muscle tightness and joint inflammation. This may cause irritation to nerves leading from your neck into the back of your head.
Another common cause of cervicogenic headaches are myofascial trigger points, or hyperirritable spots located in palpable taut bands of muscle fibers. There are two types of trigger points, active and latent. Active trigger points decrease mobility and have the ability to elicit not only local but also referred pain in a specific, recognizable distribution. This referred pain can sometimes be experienced in the form of either cervicogenic or temporal headaches, and is often overlooked. Latent trigger points, on the other hand, do not cause pain but are common culprits behind motor dysfunction, stiffness and restricted range of motion. Nearly everybody will experience pain from a myofascial trigger point at one point or another in life.
Symptoms of cervicogenic headaches are usually experienced on one side of the head, but may occasionally be felt on both. Pain often radiates from the base of your skull toward the top of your head and sometimes over the eyes. Referred pain from trigger points often skips the back of the head and is felt over the eyes or in the temporal region. Episodes of cervicogenic headaches may last anywhere from a few hours to days with the pain being continuous, but fluctuating and is sometimes described as “deep.” Somebody suffering from cervicogenic headaches may notice neck tenderness upon touch and stiffness with movement. Symptoms may be triggered or reproduced by sustained or awkward cervical spine postures; commonly observed with computer, tablet, and cell phone use.
It is imperative to never self-diagnosis and seek medical care to receive proper care and guidance. Even though it is common for headaches to originate from the cervical spine, a thorough physical assessment is necessary in order to determine the true cause of your headache. Sometimes additional diagnostic testing may be required.
Here at On Point Chiropractic, we offer a variety of different treatments to help those suffering from cervicogenic headaches in order to get you back to normal and on point as soon as possible!
Start your journey to recovery by filling out our new patient intake form at:
or call Dr. Konopka at (203)375-1101 to schedule your appointment today!