Chiropractic care involves the use of techniques to manage headaches. It also includes preventive techniques like active and passive exercises, massage, and spinal manipulation. Chiropractic care is mostly used to treat physical issues, but can also be used for cervicogenic headaches.
What Is A Cervicogenic Headache?
A cervicogenic headache is a secondary headache caused by underlying conditions that could be high blood pressure, infections, or neck pain. This makes them different from primary headaches like cluster headaches and migraines. Additionally, both tension headaches and migraine can cause cervicogenic headaches.
A cervicogenic headache is primarily felt as muscle tension, and it starts in the neck and back of the head. The tension, as a result, causes pain in the back of the skull. In most cases, the pain radiates upwards into the front of your head. Someone suffering from this pain may only notice head pain, not realizing it is because of a stiff neck.
Symptoms Of Cervicogenic Headaches
The most common symptoms that indicate that you have a cervicogenic headache are neck stiffness and pain. A cervicogenic headache can also be caused by certain neck movements. This headache develops on one side of your head in most cases. It begins from the back of the neck and head and radiates towards the front of your head.
Some other symptoms may include:
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to noise and light
- Head pain caused by certain neck positions or movements
- Pain on one side of the arm, shoulder, or neck
- Pain around your eyes
- Pain on one side of your head or face
- Reduced range of motion in your neck
Causes Of Cervicogenic Headaches
There are numerous causes of headaches. The cause usually varies, and a chiropractor is well-trained to diagnose the cause of your specific headache. After confirming the diagnosis, a suitable treatment plan will be recommended for you to follow.
Cervicogenic headaches are caused by structural problems in the neck. This is mostly a result of issues with the vertebrae at the top of the spine. This vertebra is called cervical vertebrae or C2-3 specifically.
Cervicogenic headaches are common in people whose job makes them strain their necks. Some of these job descriptions may include drivers, manual laborers, and hairstylists. You may also develop a cervicogenic headache after sustaining an injury to your neck. This is known as whiplash if it happens.
Cervicogenic headaches may also be caused by some medical conditions that include:
- Arthritis of the upper spine
Treat Your Cervicogenic Headache With Chiropractic Care
You may have a cervicogenic headache if you are having intense pain at the back of your head. The symptoms are felt as pain on one side of the head. This pain moves from the back of the neck upwards to the front of the head. Other symptoms may include chronic pain on the shoulder or arm, radiating from one side of the arm or shoulder to another.
Immediate response to treatment medication for a cervicogenic headache is not common because there are several types of headaches. As a result, it is suggested that treatment such as spinal manipulation be done in the course of chiropractic treatment.
There are many chiropractic treatment options for cervicogenic headaches which may include the following:
1. Spinal manipulation
Spinal manipulation is one of the most common procedures chiropractors use. Chiropractors work with special devices during the therapy. These devices are used to apply moderate force to particular joints in your body. Your spine may make an unexpected sound when the force is being applied.
The targeted point of this chiropractic technique is the cervical bones. These bones are located in the neck region at the upper part of the spine. To further get rid of cervicogenic headaches, you may receive a gentle massage on the area of focus in the process of spinal manipulation.
A chiropractor may ask you to perform exercises that involve deep neck flexing. You will be guided on how to go about it. Usually, it would involve the active movements of your muscles and joints. The essence of the exercise is to make your head more flexible and give it a deep stretch to reduce headaches.
Additionally, you will be directed by the chiropractor to do flexion exercises. These exercises may include chin tucks or performing head nods with your face down. These exercises can cause muscle contractions for several seconds. You will be asked to continue the exercise(s) until you are relieved.
3. Trigger point therapy
To a large extent, chiropractic treatment helps to reduce several types of headaches. It also provides relief to where the pain is felt in the neck region. This relief improves movements or flexibility of the neck muscles.
To help in the treatment process, trigger point therapy is used. What this technique does is help relieve the trigger points. Chiropractors use it to relieve anxiety, stress, or pain in specific areas of the neck, directly under skeletal muscles.
The trigger point therapy is also used alongside spinal adjustment, spinal mobilization, and exercise restoration. Generally, it is helpful in the management or treatment of cervicogenic headaches.
4. Joint mobilization
Joint mobilization is another treatment procedure that can be used to treat cervicogenic headaches. This technique involves passively moving your joints. As a result, the pain in the neck will reduce, and movement of your head will be enhanced.
Joint mobilization is targeted at the cervical bone when used for treating cervicogenic headaches.
The symptoms of cervicogenic headaches can be managed with procedures associated with chiropractic care. To help improve your neck’s flexibility and relieve pain, these treatment options are targeted on/at the neck.
At New Tampa Chiropractic and Injury Center, we have extensive experience treating these forms of headaches. Schedule a consultation to get relief from these headaches and heal your body naturally. Call 813-994-6111 to make an appointment.