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Cervicogenic Headaches

How Can You Tell If You Suffer From Cervical Headaches?

Overview

Cervical Headache (or Cervicogenic Headache) is a term used to describe people who get headaches which stem from dysfunction of the joints, disc, muscles, fascia, or nerves in the cervical spine and neck region (Brukner & Khan, 2012). Not to be confused with migraines or tension headaches.

Who can be affected & what are the symptoms?

Approximately 47% of the global population suffers from headaches, and 15-20% of those are sufferers of cervical headaches specifically, with women up to four times as likely to be affected by Cervical Headaches as men (Page, P, 2011, IJSPT).

As stated above, cervical headaches is brought on by dysfunction or trauma of the structures in the neck region; the most common predisposing injuries or factors include: acceleration-deceleration injury (whiplash), incorrect posture, and emotional stress.

It normally presents as one sided and with a slow onset; a building dull ache, pulling or gripping, neck stiffness, or tight band around the head feeling which increases in intensity over a period of time. The sensations can be felt most often at the back of the head, and occasionally at the temples above the ears, front of the head, or behind the eye. It is not unusual for cervical headaches to last for days.

It differs from migraines which typically presents as a one sided throbbing pain and may get some sensitivities to smell, sound, and light.

There are some symptoms which may be associated with headaches which can be a little concern for further investigations, such as: sudden onset of severe headache, headache after head trauma, or issues with vision or dizziness. If you are experiencing symptoms such as those, a visit to your General Practitioner is advised.

What Richmond Rehab Can do for you!

Our practitioner Julius has always had interest with treating headaches, stemming from his mother suffering from them frequently. He'll go through a detailed assessment with you and find the most likely cause for your headaches and treat it appropriately, whether we would approach it with soft tissue therapy, joint mobilisation, or education and an exercise program.  If you're experiencing headaches and would like to know more, Julius is available 5 days per week, though bookings are essential!

References

Brukner, P. (2012). Brukner & Khan's clinical sports medicine. North Ryde: McGraw-Hill.

Page, P. (2011). Cervicogenic headaches: an evidence-led approach to clinical management. International journal of sports physical therapy6(3), 254.