How to Cure Headaches

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A Cervicogenic headache is a type of migraine that is caused by an issue in the neck. This can be caused by either tight muscles or joints that pinch on a nerve and shoot a signal into the head. The best ways to combat these powerful headaches are to be mindful of your posture and stress levels, two things that can lead to neck tightness.

 

The Malady: 

Cervicogenic headaches

The Facts:

A cervicogenic headache is defined as a migraine whose symptoms arise from an issue in the neck. The pain originates from a dysfunctional muscle or joint , and travels up the head. This can result in a migraine headache that can range in intensity from mild to debilitating. Such headaches can become chronic if the issues behind them are not addressed.

The Symptoms:

Someone complaining of cervicogenic headaches may feel a “sharp, shooting” pain behind their eyes. The pain may feel as if it spans from the neck all the way to the head, or it may only be experienced in a small spot on the head. In order to officially confirm a diagnosis of cervicogenic headache, the offending nerve must be identified by your doctor. This is done by injecting the site with a nerve block agent. If this provided relief, the doctor will know for sure that your headache came from an issue in the neck and not somewhere else.

What is Happening:

Cerviogenic headaches exhibit a phenomena known as “referred pain”. This means that the pain is originating from a spot different than the one at which it is being experienced. The pain signal is transmitted by a nerve running from the neck, where it crosses paths with a nerve that transmits pain in the face. As a result, the pain that came from a dysfunction in the neck region is manifested in the face and head, an area that may feel hurt but is actually structurally intact.

Why Is This Happening:

Cervicogenic headaches can come from either joint or muscle dysfunction. In the case of a muscular issue, tightness in a muscle can cause it to go into spasm and pinch on a nerve that runs through it. The issue can also be a joint that is not moving properly. As a result, certain movements can cause a compression in the nerves that run out of the neck vertebrae, causing them to elicit pain signals.

Lifestyle Adjustments:

Learning to cope with stress is a huge factor in battling cervicogenic headaches. If you believe you are one of those people who “carry tension” in their neck after a stressful day, try to take some time to yourself at day’s end to meditate or just breathe deeply. If you feel the tension in your head and neck increasing, take a “timeout” by getting away from the stressful situation briefly and breathing deeply.

Fix It and Prevent It

Preventing and fixing headaches causes by neck pathology can be best achieved by correcting poor postures and movement patterns. Avoid positions of excessive neck rotation or bending, such as sleeping on your stomach (your head is fully rotated to one side here), and talking on a phone without hands by hiking your shoulders up. You can also correct poor postural habits with these three exercises

1)     Chin tucks (20 reps 5 times a day)

2)     scapular retractions (10 reps 5 times a day)

3)     Lay on foam roller lengthwise (5 mins a day)

Contact Info

Dmitry R. Choklin
PT, DPT, CSCS, CKTP

Cell: (917) 328-8098
Fax: (866) 282-1162
Email: dchoklin@yahoo.com

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