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May 2020

Why Do I Have These Headaches?

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Have you ever woken up with a raging headache and you can’t think of what you may have done in the night to cause this?  Or maybe you often get them at the end of the day, particularly after a busy day at work?  Is it just on one side of your head?  Or is it in your sinuses?

Today we are going to talk about a type of headache called a cervicogenic headache.  Cervicogenic headache means exactly that:

“Cervico-” means neck  “-genic”- means produced by

These headaches actually start in your neck, although most people don’t realize that there is a problem with their neck.  All they can think about is that awful headache!  Many people wonder if their headache could be a migraine.  There are lots of things that can cause a headache, such as neck strain or injury, sinus infection or high blood pressure.  Migraines are an entirely different kind of headache.  So, how do you know which type of headache you have?

Because the pain comes from the neck, people who hold their neck out in front of them or in awkward positions for long periods of time are more likely to suffer from cervicogenic headaches.  Some professions like hairdresser, dentists, computer workers, truck drivers, electricians, or carpenters are more likely to suffer from cervicogenic headaches. It can also happen as the result of whiplash, arthritis or other trauma to the head or neck.

Cervicogenic headache pain usually starts in the neck and then usually spreads to the front of the head.  You often have a stiff neck too.  It can be caused from holding your head in one position for too long or turning your head in an awkward way.  Your pain is usually just on one side of your head, although not always.  Cervicogenic headaches can cause many of the same symptoms as a migraine; nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, blurry vision, arm or shoulder pain, just to name a few.

Because this is basically a neck issue, migraine medications will not work and most other medications have undesirable side effects.  An experienced physical therapist can determine if of your headaches are being caused by an underlying neck condition and studies show that manual therapy is an effective form of management for cervicogenic headaches. Therefore, seeking help from a physical therapist, osteopath or chiropractor is a safe and successful way to treat them.

We, at PT4EB, can determine if you are having cervicogenic headaches and specialize in the manual therapy you need to take care of the underlying neck condition that is causing them.  Book your free Discovery Session today to speak to us in person, ask all your questions and see if this might be what you need to free yourself once and for all from chronic headaches.