Headache from the Neck? Dealing with the “Cervicogenic Headache”

Posted on October 3, 2017. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Cervicogenic headache, Chiropractic, headache, Health, Neck Pain | Tags: , , , , , |

cervicogenic

Almost everyone has had a “headache” but did you know there are at least 150 different types of headaches?  There are vascular, condition specific, tension, cluster, migraine, environmental, disease related and the list goes on.  One of the most prevalent headaches I see at the clinic is that which is called the “Cervicogenic  Headache”.  It’s classified as a secondary headache which means that its caused by another issue other than directly in the head.  Pain is perceived as occurring in a part of the body other than its true source, a type of “referred pain”.  Simply put, perceived in the head from a source in the neck.

By identifying the type of headache, corrective measures can then be taken but it’s not always easy to determine the headaches because many symptoms and patterns are similar.  Cervicogenic headaches often feel as painful as a migraine and typically pain is located on one side of the head.  The pain seems to start at the back and wrap itself up and over the top to the side of the head.   Cervicogenic means that it’s coming from the neck, though neck pain may not be felt.  There are structures right at the base of the skull where it attaches to the spine along which arteries and nerves run.  If they get irritated or compressed, it can be problematic.  If you push at the base of the skull, it’s extremely tender, even light pressure above the nerve can hurt too.

For these types of headaches, a chiropractic adjustment can help dissipate that pain.  What happens here is that proper motion and relationship is being restored within the structures.  Abnormal tensions are reduced, pressure is lessened, muscles start to relax, and blood vessels return to normal flow and things start to heal in fairly short order.

Patients who are prone to neck and shoulder pain may experience these types of headaches more so than others.  It can be aggravated by sitting at computers or excessive cell phone use, especially with forward head posture because there is so much tension on the back of the neck.  If the head is dropped forward, the muscles then try to pull backwards, creating a kind of tug of war.  When the neck is out of alignment for long periods, chronic headaches can develop.  One of my top recommendations that you can practice at home and at any time is having good posture.  When you correct your posture, you take tension off the neck.  This can substantially reduce the occurrence of headaches.

Another recommendation is acupuncture. It can relax the muscles and also provide extra effects on the top of the head right in the muscular tension itself.  There are specific acupuncture points we use that directly target headaches. While chiropractic can work at the source of the headache, acupuncture can work directly on the source itself.  The good news is that there are natural therapies that can be used to help these headaches instead of ongoing dependence of medication.

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Acupuncture for Headaches-no side effects

Posted on May 16, 2012. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

How can Acupuncture remedy headaches?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a very consistent and philosophically-based framework for headache diagnosis and treatment.  Acupuncture, as an effective treatment modality, has been applied to headaches from the earliest beginnings of TCM.

Acupuncture is not just only effective for migraine headaches, but also works very well for tension headaches, cluster headaches, post-traumatic headaches, and disease-related headaches that may be due to sinus problems, high blood pressure or sleeping disorders. The greatest advantage of acupuncture over Western medicine is that it causes virtually no harm.  Some medications can have serious side effects and can (in some instances) actually lead to patients experiencing a “rebound” headache. Unlike synthetic medications, acupuncture has essentially no side effects, and the procedures for treating headaches are less invasive with acupuncture than with surgery.

Who gets headaches?

Nearly everyone will suffer a headache at some point in time.  Headaches are one of the most common physical complaints that prompt people to treat themselves or seek professional help. It has been estimated that up to 50 million Americans suffer from severe, long-lasting, reacurring headaches.  While most headaches are not necessarily symptomatic of another condition, they can be very distracting and account for significant amounts of time lost from work.

What are the different types of headaches?

Headaches fall into three main categories: tension-type, migraine and cervicogenic. Tension-type headaches are the most common.  Many patients who endure tension-type headaches usually feel mild to moderate pain on both sides of their head. The pain is usually described as tight, stiff or constricting, almost as though there is a vice squeezing the head.

While migraines affect far fewer people than the tension-type headaches, they have a much shorter duration, but their symptoms are much more severe. They typically affect women more than men, with pain that usually occurs on one side of the head.  Migraines can be so debilitating that they can cause loss of appetite, blurred vision, nausea and even vomiting.

Cervicogenic headaches are the most recently diagnosed type of headache and are musculoskeletal in nature. They may be caused by pain in the neck or spine that migrates to the head.  Many times, cervicogenic headaches are undiagnosed because of their recent classification.

What are the results of Treatment? 

Web M.D. wrote that people who received acupuncture were nearly four times as likely to report less suffering than those who received standard medical treatment alone, such as pain relievers.

“The results showed that patients who received acupuncture reported significant improvement in many quality of life measures,” says researcher Remy Coeytaux, MD, assistant professor of family medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, in a news release. “The patients felt better, and the vast majority who got acupuncture reported that their headaches had improved during the six weeks of treatment

Resource credits:  acupuncturetoday.com

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