Cervicogenic Headaches (CGH) are classified as a secondary headache which is usually caused by a weakness of neck muscles or arthritis or lack of mobility of neck spinal joints. In this instance, the headaches are due to a neck disorder or a lesion. The C1, C2, C3, the three cervical nerves, share a nucleus.
The nucleus sends pain signals to the brain via the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve carries messages from the face to the brain. The shared sensory nerve is the reason why the brain indicates pain in the head instead of the neck. Unlike migraines, headaches originating from the neck do not switch sides but remain side-specific.
People suffering from Cervicogenic headaches can seek the assistance of physiotherapists who will examine the pain and utilize a manual therapy technique appropriate to the individual’s condition. The techniques target the cervical spine and soft tissue structures to help the person restore joint mechanics and regain range of movement.
Most of the time, cervicogenic headache starts at the base of the head and skull and then diffuses to the front and sides. Many times patients report some degree of strain on the eyes or feeling eye fatigue.
Common treatment options are:
At Physiomobility, Cervicogenic headaches are mainly treated by physiotherapists and chiropractors. Massage therapy adds value to the treatment by relaxing tense neck muscles and improving blood circulation to head. Regardless of what type of professional treats you with manual therapy, you will be given exercises to strengthen your deep neck muscles to decrease pressure and in turn, decrease your headache.
By: Dr. Richard Kim, Chiropractor & Medical Acupuncture Provider