Those Headaches May Not Be What They Seem

istock 1134005495 1 Headache pain is one of the most common complaints among American adults, next to low back pain. In the vast majority of cases, the affected person does what they can to manage symptoms without medical assistance. When a person talks to their doctor about their headache pain, they may be given a prescription for a strong anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant. Often, it takes months or years to discover the underlying cause of headaches. Here, we discuss how to determine if pain might be classified as a cervicogenic headache and what might be done to resolve the problem. 

What is a Cervicogenic Headache?

Cervicogenic headaches originate with a physical or neurologic problem in the neck, the cervical spine. This structural or neurologic problem may be caused by an injury such as whiplash or may result from a health condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or cancer. Though the origin of pain is in the cervical spine, the pain itself may occur only in the head, not the neck. This can make the condition difficult to diagnose. Instead, a patient may be diagnosed with tension headaches or migraine headaches. Without proper diagnosis, the problem may not be sufficiently resolved. 

Cervicogenic headaches may occur intermittently at first. Over time, though, headaches may occur with increasing frequency. They may be triggered by certain postures that place stress on the neck or by sudden movements like sneezing. Symptoms include:

  • Pain on one side of the head. Usually, cervicogenic headaches always occur on the same side of the body. 
  • Pain originating at the back of the head or neck, radiating to the forehead, eye, temple, and ear on one side of the head. 
  • Swelling or blurring in the eye on the affected side of the head. 
  • Neck stiffness with or without pain.
  • Pain along the shoulder and/or arm of the affected side. 

Addressing Cervicogenic Headache Pain

Cervicogenic headaches are often associated with nerve compression in the cervical spine. Nerves are sensitive to pressure as they exit the spine and, when pressure is applied, the nerve may swell, causing the symptoms mentioned here. At Innovative Spine Care, patients can explore the option of Cervical Discectomy Neural Decompression using a minimally invasive technique that takes less than two hours. 

See how we can help you resolve chronic headaches. Call our Tampa office at (813) 920-3022.

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