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Understanding Cervicogenic Headaches and Chiropractic Treatment

Understanding Cervicogenic Headaches and Chiropractic Treatment

For a lot of us out there, headaches and migraines are a daily if not weekly occurrence.  Headaches can occur based on many different factors, including stress, changes in the weather, changes in medication, or even having pain that's originally from other parts of the body, like your eyes, ears or neck! One type of headache that is fairly common is called a cervicogenic headache. If you’ve ever had a headache that started at the base of your head and traveled up to your temple, you’ve said hello to a cervicogenic headache.

What Is a Cervicogenic Headache?

A cervicogenic headache is a somewhat common type of headache. Cervicogenic headaches are considered secondary headaches, usually meaning that the pain we feel in our head is actually occurring in another part of the body- the source is not the head. In the case of cervicogenic headaches, the “source” or root cause is actually a disorder or misalignment of the cervical spine, or the neck. Many people also find it hard to identify the exact cause of their headaches. As such, it becomes difficult to determine the most effective treatments.

Since this type of headache can resemble a migraine headache, it can be challenging to differentiate the two. The primary difference to remember is that cervicogenic headaches originate in the cervical spine (neck) or skull, while migraines originate in the brain. Cervicogenic headaches, since they originate from the neck and the spine, can be treated with chiropractic care!

Causes of cervicogenic headaches

Some causes of these headaches include eyestrain, tiredness, trauma, or stress. These headaches differ from migraines because their primary causes are problems with the muscles, bones, or nerves within your neck. You might feel pain in the head, but it doesn't start there. Neck or spine issues are the common causes for this; this may include injury or osteoarthritis.

Such headaches are most often caused by underlying structural problems with the cervical spine (neck). This underlying cause results in poor nerve flow, connective tissue strain, and muscle imbalances, causing stiffness throughout the upper neck. Some primary causes of this pain include previous neck injuries, whiplash, and jobs that strain the neck (such as hair stylists, manual labor, or slouching at a desk).

The Significance of Chiropractic Treatment

The BC + PT Chiropractors have extensive knowledge and understanding in treating cervicogenic headaches (and other types of headaches as well!). Most people recover quickly when cervicogenic headaches are detected early. So get to a chiropractor ASAP!

Your chiropractic doctor can conduct several treatments, such as spinal adjustments, joint mobilizations, and even soft tissue mobilizations. Your chiropractor may also administer one or more of these procedures while also incorporating certain vertebral adjustments to relieve any cervical misalignments that might be the underlying cause of your headaches. Spinal adjustments relieve pressure on your central nervous system and can have a positive effect on  reducing headaches. They also help realign your spinal joints and ease the pain.

If you have been suffering from head and neck pain, getting in contact with us is a great first step towards healing. Give BC + PT a call today, or fill out our contact form to start healing today!


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