Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches refer to headaches which originate from tissues and structures in the cervical spine or neck region. They are often caused by chronic irritation, postural problems, or injury to the neck region, which results in referred pain to the head. The headache is generally a very constant, strong, yet dull pain. The most common location of pain is around the orbital (eye) region and at the base of the skull, but may also include other areas of the face, head and neck. The headache will typically last for one to three days and may reoccur in a cyclical pattern until properly treated. The headache may mimic a migraine, so it’s important to get evaluated.

Chiropractic treatment is the best way to eliminate these headaches. Failing to address the problems in cervical spine the headache will continue to persist and worsen.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common headache type and account for approximately 60% of all headaches. These headaches are caused by the sustained contraction of the muscles in the neck and head region, oftentimes as a result of the following:

  1. Poor posture
  2. Cervical/neck misalignments and faulty neck biomechanics
  3. Previous neck/upper back injury- not properly rehabilitated
  4. Excessive emotional stress
  5. Prolonged sitting or driving
  6. Improper sleeping habits

These headaches are generally mild to moderate in intensity and can last from hours to days. Patients describe a constant tight or pressure sensation, and feeling like a tight band is wrapping around the head. Associated pain and tightness in the area of the neck and shoulder is also common. Pain may start in the base of the skull or temporal regions of the head and radiate to other parts of the head and neck.

Chiropractors have great success treating muscle tension headaches. By utilizing spinal adjustments, therapeutic exercises and stretches, soft tissue techniques such as trigger point work and massage, and postural retraining, tension headaches can become a rare experience for its chronic sufferers. Relying on analgesics to remedy tension headaches does nothing to correct the cause of the headache and generally worsens the headache in what’s known as the “rebound effect”.

Migtaine Headaches

Dr. Cori has suffered from migraines since she was 14 years old and has a passion for treating these cases. Migraines account for approximately 10% of all headaches and are often hereditary in nature; note 70% of migraine sufferers have another family member(s) who is also affected. Migraine headaches also bring other symptomatic pain generators with them, such as muscle tension and cervicogenic dysfunction which contributes to the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.

Migraines are characterized by throbbing pain on one side of the head that reaches its peak after about 30 minutes. Oftentimes, migraines are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and/or neurological disturbances (numbness and tingling, visual field blind spots or lights, etc…). During severe attacks, sensitivity to sound and light may occur forcing the individual to seek a dark and quiet room mandatory. The duration of the headache can vary from a few hours to 2 days.

Research has shown that chiropractic care reduces the frequency, intensity and duration of migraines.

Post-Traumatic Headaches

Post-traumatic headaches are headaches initiated from head or neck injury, such as in a whiplash-type injury or blow to the head. The resulting headache varies from person to person. Most commonly, the resulting post-traumatic headache is one of the following:

  • post-traumatic cervicogenic headache
  • post-traumatic muscle tension headache
  • post-traumatic migraine headache
  • post-traumatic cluster headache
  • post-traumatic vascular headache

The most favorable outcomes are seen with those who seek early treatment. Chiropractors frequently treat post-traumatic headaches and do so with great success.

Relying on analgesics to remedy post-traumatic headaches does nothing to correct the cause of the headache and generally worsens the headache in what’s known as the “rebound effect”.

Cluster Headaches

Coming soon…