Cervicogenic headaches are popularly known as neck headaches or tension headaches. Cervicogenic headache means that dysfunction of the neck muscles, nerves and joints is the cause of the headache. Severe cervicogenic headaches may occasionally remind of migraine in presentation, as it is usually the strongest on a page.
Neck headache: When the neck gives you a headache
This type of headache is one of the most common causes of headaches. Tight neck muscles and stiff joints - often used very one-sidedly and used too little in motion - are what provide the basis for cervicogenic headaches. It is often called 'neck headache' because you feel that the neck is tight and sore at the same time as the headache gradually creeps up in the back of the head, temple and / or forehead - and sometimes it is as if it decides to build and live behind the eyes. .
Stress headaches and neck headaches are really much the same - studies have shown that stress leads to increased tension in muscles and muscle fibers, which consistently leads to them becoming more sensitive and giving off pain signals. That is why most headaches of this kind are called combination headaches.
Affected? Join the Facebook group «The Headache Network - Norway: Research, New Findings and Cohesion»For the latest updates on research and media writing about this disorder. Here, members can also get help and support - at all times of the day - through the exchange of their own experiences and advice.
How to relieve cervical headache?
It is tiring to walk around with a headache. For faster relief of symptoms, we recommend that you take the following measures. First, make sure you drink plenty of water. Then lie down a little with a cooling mask over your eyes - this will reduce some of the pain signals and calm down some of your tension. For long-term improvement, regular use of trigger point treatment towards tense muscles (you know you have some!) And training, as well as stretching is recommended. Here you can watch a video with exercises that can help you loosen up a tight neck.
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Symptoms of cervical headache (headache)
Symptoms and signs may vary, but typical and distinctive symptoms of headache are:
- Unilateral pain in the head and / or face
- A constant pain that does not pulsate
- Amplified headache when sneezing, coughing or taking a deep breath
- The pain can persist for hours and days (this time can be shortened by exercises and / or treatment)
- Rigid neck which makes it feel like you can't move your neck as normal
- Pain that is particularly localized to an area - e.g. in the back of the head, forehead, temple or behind the eye
Symptoms of migraine and cervical headache may overlap
Although migraine and cervicogenic headaches are two different diagnoses, some of the symptoms may be similar, such as:
- May feel unwell
- Can vomit
- May have pain down the shoulder and arm (this may also indicate nerve irritation in the neck)
- May be light sensitive
- May be sound sensitive
- Blurred vision
Some people may also have neck headaches and migraines at the same time - for natural reasons, as migraine attacks put both mental and physical stress on the body.
Causes of headache
Many things can cause cervicogenic headaches and can often be difficult to figure out, but one thing is certain, you have a significantly higher chance of properly addressing the problem if you seek help from a clinician. Regular self-treatment of tense muscles in the back and neck, eg. with trigger point balls Used against tense muscles can also produce good results in the long run.
As mentioned, this type of headache can come from muscles and joints in the neck - and often people who keep their head static over time are affected. These can be vulnerable occupations such as hairdressers, craftsmen and truck drivers. It can also be due to falls, sports injuries or whiplash / whiplash.
What areas cause cervicogenic headaches?
Any impaired function in the neck muscles and joints can cause headaches. This is because the neck is a very important structure and is therefore more sensitive to malfunction than other, often stronger, parts of the body. There will usually be a combination of muscles and joints that will give you a headache, but here are some of the most common areas that can cause cervicogenic headaches.
Jaw: Dysfunction of the jaw, especially large chewing muscle (masseter), can contribute greatly to neck headaches - often you will be able to feel the jaw and feel that this is significantly tighter / sore on the side where you have cervicogenic headaches. Jaw dysfunction almost always occurs in combination with reduced movement in the upper part of the neck on the same side, more specifically neck level C1, C2 and / or C3.
- Try these for relief of jaw problems: - jaw Exercises
Lower part of neck / upper back: In the transition between the thoracic spine and the lower part of the neck, called the cervicotoracal transition (CTO) in the technical language, we have a number of exposed muscles and joints - especially the upper trapezius (the large muscle over the shoulder blade that attaches to the neck) and levator scapula (goes up like a ligament in the neck all the way up in the back of the head). When we talk about the vulnerable, we mean that they - in our modern age - are exposed to one-sided strain and static positions.
Such lack of movement and exercise causes the muscle fibers to become painful and joints to tighten. Joint treatment (eg chiropractic joint alignment) and muscular treatment can have a good effect on these types of problems. It is also important to address the problems of peer extension and training. Eg. such like these clothing exercises
Try these: - 4 Stretching exercises against Stiff Neck
Upper part of neck: The upper joints and muscles in the neck are often exposed to those who have a slightly forward head position - e.g. in front of PC. This can cause irritation and tightening of the muscles that attach to the very top of the neck between the back of the head and the neck - called the suboccipitalis. These are often painful when pressed and touched. In combination with these, there will often be joint restrictions in the upper neck joints.
Treatment of neck headache
- needle treatment: Dry needling and intramuscular acupuncture can reduce muscle pain and relieve muscle problems
- Medical treatment: It is not recommended to take painkillers over time, but sometimes you just have to relieve the symptoms.
- Muscle Knut Treatment: Muscular therapy can reduce muscle tension and muscle pain.
- Joint Treatment: An expert in muscles and joints (eg chiropractor) will work with both muscles and joints to give you functional improvement and symptom relief. This treatment will be adapted to each individual patient based on a thorough examination, which also takes into account the patient's overall health situation. The treatment will most likely consist of joint corrections, muscle work, ergonomic / posture counseling and other forms of treatment that are appropriate for the individual patient.
- Yoga and meditation: Yoga, mindfulness and meditation can help lower the level of mental stress in the body. A good measure for those who stress too much in everyday life.
Read more here: - This You Should Know About Pain In The Neck
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Asked questions via our free Facebook query service:
Should you undergo cervical discectomy if you have cervicogenic headache?
No, absolutely not (!) - cervical discectomy is a surgical procedure that has a very high risk as you actually operate on the neck region which is sensitive and contains important blood vessels. It is performed only when it is extremely necessary in case of major neck prolapse. It is recommended that you try physical treatment, joint treatment, and training / rehabilitation in accordance with findings from a clinical examination.
Can you get tension headaches from the back of your head?
Yes, tension headaches can occur in both muscles (suboccipitalis, upper trapezius ++) and joints (upper neck joints, C1, C2 & C3) with relation to the back of the head.