Headaches affect almost half of the population. While headaches are common they are not normal. 15-20% of all headaches are “cervicogenic headaches.” This means the root cause is a problem in the neck. This type of headache is what chiropractic is most successful with. Limited movement of the joints in your neck is usually to blame in these headaches. A happy, healthy joint is one that moves freely and independently. Restrictions here start a painful cycle of stiffness, muscle tightness, and joint inflammation. This may irritate sensitive nerves leading from your neck into the back of your head.
Cervicogenic headaches are usually one-sided but may be present on both sides of the head. Pain often radiates from the base of your skull toward the top of your head and even over your eyes. These headache episodes may last from hours to days. The pain is continuous but varying and is often described as “deep.” You may also notice chronic neck tenderness and stiffness.
Cervicogenic headache symptoms start or recur because of awkward movements and postures. Recent trauma, especially a motor vehicle accident, are at high risk. People that have had concussions are also included here.
Cervicogenic headaches pair with poor posture. Including a “slouched” or “forward head” posture. This is what occurs with “text neck”. Be sure to tell us if you notice your headaches are becoming progressively worse over time. If you experience a sudden onset of a severe headache, a new or unfamiliar headache you could have more going on.
Other symptoms to be aware of are numbness or tingling on your face, light-headedness, dizziness, loss of consciousness, difficulty speaking, difficulty swallowing, difficulty walking, nausea, numbness radiating into your arms or legs, or fever.
Being dehydrated can aggravate headaches. Make sure that you are drinking 6-8 glasses of water each day, more in hot weather or when you’ve been sweating. Since cervicogenic headaches result from a mechanical problem, medicines are often ineffective. Fortunately, our office has several tools to help solve this problem.
Watch the video below to learn more!