Cervicogenic Headaches

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Cervicogenic Headaches

Headaches happen for lots of reasons. If it's related to a problem in your neck, there's a good chance it's a Cervicogenic Headache.

What is a Cervicogenic Headache?

Cervicogenic Headaches, by definition, are headaches caused by the neck and typically feel dull and aching. Cervicogenic headaches can mimic migraines, so it may be difficult to distinguish a Cervicogenic Headache from a migraine headache. The primary difference is that a migraine headache is rooted in the brain, and a Cervicogenic Headache is rooted in the cervical spine (neck) or base of the skull region

Cervicogenic headache

Signs and Symptoms of Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches present as a dull ache in the back of the head, where the skull and neck meet, but the pain can also refer to the forehead, the temples, and behind the eyes. Patients can also experience:

  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Pain while coughing or sneezing
  • Pain with certain neck postures or movement
  • Light and/or noise sensitivity
  • Blurry vision
  • Upset stomach/vomiting
  • Pain radiating to shoulder/arm

Causes of Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic Headaches are caused by neck dysfunctions, such as joint or muscular dysfunction, inflammation of joints in the neck, poor posture, and even spinal degeneration. 

Cervicogenic headaches may also occur due to your posture while sitting or standing at work. If you’re a driver, carpenter, hairstylist, or someone who sits at a desk, you may unknowingly push your chin forward which moves your head out in front of your body. This is called cervical protraction. Sitting or standing in this position for long periods of time can put pressure or stress on the neck and base of the skull, triggering a Cervicogenic Headache.

Falling asleep in an awkward position (such as with your head too far to the front or back, or off to one side) can also cause these types of headaches. This can happen if you sleep in a chair or while sitting up in bed. A compressed or pinched nerve in or near the neck is another cause of Cervicogenic Headaches.

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Cervicogenic Headaches

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