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Headaches Treatment Cambridge

Neck related/cervicogenic headaches account for 15-20% of all chronic and recurrent headaches. These headaches affect approximately 2.5% of the population. BetterNOW Healthcare Clinic Cambridge are here to help you with your headache issues

 

Definition:

 

  • Cervico = This describes the Cervical portion of the spine which is the top 7 vertebrae which make up your neck.
  • Genic = Genic translates as ‘the beginning’ or the ‘Origin’.

 

So if we put these together Cervicogenic means “a headache which has started/originated due to the structures of the neck.

 

Those with symptoms of pain into the neck have been shown to be 4 times more likely to suffer with headaches than those with no neck pain.

 

Neck/cervicogenic headaches tend to be one sided but can occasionally cause pain on both sides and tend to be felt into the forehead or temples, however, can also be felt at the base of the skull. The pain can present as a dull ache or can be sharp and stabbing in nature. These headaches tend to worsen throughout the day when tension and stress increase.

 

These headaches can be caused by the following structures of the neck:

 

  1. Joints
  2. Muscles
  3. Fascia
  4. Neural structures (nerves)

 

Let’s start with Muscle:

 

Tight bands of muscle (called knots/trigger points) can form following trauma (where your neck has been stressed) or result from overuse from simple things such as poor posture or anxiety. These trigger points are commonly found in and around the neck and may cause tightening into the neck and reduce neck movement.

 

Regarding headaches, these trigger points can actively refer pain into the head as you can see from the following diagrams:

 

headaches

 

 

(The X in the diagram shows the

trigger point location and the red

areas show the location of pain

that can be caused by the knot).

 

 

 

 

Nerves

 

Cervicogenic headaches can also occur due to irritation of upper cervical/neck nerve roots!

 

These nerve roots have been shown to share a connection with the trigeminal (5th) cranial nerve, therefore pressure on the upper part of the cervical spine and nerves may cause a pain into the neck and head, with pain even progressing into the face. skull

 

What does treatment involve?

 

Following a detailed assessment we can identify stiffness into specific spinal joints and muscles/soft tissues surrounding the neck which may be contributing to your headache. Once a probable cause is identified we can use joint mobilisation techniques along with soft tissue mobilisation and exercise advice to encourage your neck to move and your muscles to strengthen and regain mobility.

 

Postural education and work on correct breathing technique may also be incorporated into treatment in order for you to make better use of your diaphragm to breathe.

 

If you slump and try to inhale, you will notice that it is very difficult to get your lower ribs to expand and therefore diaphragm to contract effectively. Your body still needs oxygen so despite your slumped position your body will compensate for this lack of air to the base of your lungs by using muscles in the neck/throat to lift the upper ribs to get more air in! Over a period of time this will obviously stiffen your neck muscles and may in time give you a neck related/cervicogenic headache.

 

Although headaches may be coming from your neck it may be coming from another source and it is very important to rule out any primary causes. If you have any of the following symptoms you need to seek medical advice/GP assessment.

 

  1. Headaches that are getting worse over time
  2. Sudden onset of severe headache
  3. Headaches associated with high fever, stiff neck, or rash
  4. Onset of headache after head injury
  5. Problems with vision or profound dizziness

 

If you want any further advice or to book in for an initial assessment please call us on 01223832808.

BetterNOW healthcare, High Street Sawston, Cambridge, CB22 3BG

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