Are your headaches a pain in your neck?
Did you know that your headache can be caused by what is going on in your neck? This type of headache is called a Cervogenic Headache and can often be overlooked and results in re-occurring headaches. Nearly 25% of all headaches can be related to this condition. In other words your headache is caused by a pain in the neck!
The good news is that once you identify this as the cause, treating your headaches are as easy as treating your neck. Your neck headache can originate from a variety of musculoskeletal and neurovascular structures in your upper neck; including the upper three neck joints, C2/3 disc, spinal cord coverings and neck muscles. A dysfunction in these areas can trigger pain signals that travel to your trigeminocervical nucleus (TCN) in your brainstem. This information is then transmitted into your brain and interpreted as a headache (Bogduk 2003).
How do you identify a Neck Headache?
Typically people with a neck headache will have tenderness in the upper part of the neck just below the head. They also experience a reduction in range of motion due to stiffness. Often sufferers will experience a headache that radiates from the back of the head to the front. They will also experience some relief when adjusting their head/neck position.
Treating a Neck Headache
The good news once identified as the cause has been identified, treating the condition in your neck can result in immediate pain relief. Physical therapy and chiropractic care can immediately address the neck dysfunction and patients will typically leave the clinic with instant relief from your headache. While treating the headache is the first step, the expertise of a physical therapist and chiropractor is to help identify what may be causing the neck pain and help educate the patient to help them avoid future occurences.
It is important to note that sometimes a neck headache is combined with other conditions that also need to be treated. Contact our office and schedule a consultation if you suspect you suffer from a neck headache.