What Are Cervicogenic Headaches, And How Do You Avoid Them?

Health & Fitness by  Ariana Smith 02 May 2018 Last Updated Date: 28 August 2020

Cervicogenic Headaches

It can happen at the worst of times: you feel a dull ache around the base of your neck that transforms into a tight, painful sensation around your brow, your ears or your eyes. It can ruin an otherwise wonderful day, making it hard to concentrate on work or enjoy life’s little pleasures. These are what are known as “cervicogenic headaches”, referred pain that originates in the neck and is perceived in the head and face.

The term “cervicogenic headache” is a fairly new one, coined in 1983 by Norwegian physician Dr. OttarSjaastad when he noticed that the headaches in many of his patients were concomitant with neck pain. It’s a fairly recent topic of conversation in medical circles that is becoming better understood with every passing year, as scientists and doctors work to better understand the connection.

Essentially, what causes a cervicogenic headache is a misalignment in the cervical spine – the vertebrae, ligaments and musculature that comprise the top of the spine, connected to base of the skull. When the vertebrae shift out of alignment, this puts pressure on the nerves and spinal cord causing pain to be transferred from the neck to the head. That’s where you get that all-too-familiar cluster headache forming around your eyes.

While some people are content to just take a painkiller or two, this doesn’t address the problem. It merely addresses the symptom of the problem. It would be like trying to deal with a house fire by putting on a flame-retardant suit. If you’re suffering from cervicogenic headaches, you have to tackle the issue at its source: the cervical spine. But how do you go about doing that?

As mentioned, what causes these types of headaches are a shift in the alignment of the cervical spine, so the natural way to put a stop to them, and avoid them happening in the future, is to visit a chiropractor. Aside from offering back pain relief treatments to people (what they’re known best for, arguably) chiropractors also tackle any problem related to the spine’s structure, headaches included.

Talk to a chiropractor about the nature of your headaches, the frequency and location(s) of the pain, and they will work with you to develop a strategy. This might focus on spinal adjustments or certain stretches you can do at home. It might also involve changing the way you sleep. For instance, if you’re someone who likes to sleep on your stomach, they might advise that you try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs, as sleeping on your stomach can twist your neck into an awkward position.

There is no reason for you to continue living with cervicogenic headaches, running out to the store to buy painkillers every time a headache strikes. By understanding the nature of these headaches, and addressing the problem face on by visiting a chiropractor, you can greatly reduce, or even eradicate, the pain they cause. You can finally be free to focus on work and enjoy the finer things in life!

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Ariana Smith

Ariana Smith is a freelancer content writer and enthusiastic blogger. She is a regular contributor at The Daily Notes.

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