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Cervicogenic Headaches

Neck Dysfunction is a Main Cause for Headaches

Have you ever heard the term “Cervicogenic Headache”? It was introduced in 1983 to describe headaches stemming from the neck and is recognized as a pain syndrome by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).

The Chiropractic profession has been observing the correlation of neck function and subsequent headaches several decades before 1983. In a study from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine it was reported that a staggering 20% of the population aged 18 to 44 years and 15% aged 45 to 64 years experience severe headaches or migraines.

These headaches come on or are generally made worse by:

  1. Sudden neck movement or external mechanical pressure
  2. Muscle spasms of the trapezius muscle
  3. Reduced neck mobility or range of motion
  4. Looking in one direction for extended periods of time
  5. A history of neck trauma or whiplash

The “cervicogenic” headache often times starts in the back of the neck or base of the skull and can affect just one side or both sides of the head. The symptoms then tend to move forward affecting the temples and eventually the forehead.

Headaches are a very big concern because the impact goes beyond just the headache pain. Headache sufferers in my experience can have stressed relationships, suffer academically, and withdrawal from athletic and or social events.

Chiropractors have been helping patients with this type of condition for many decades.There are several things that can be done to reduce or remove this type of headache. Specific gentle chiropractic adjustments, range of motion exercises, ensuring proper hydration, and specific stretches to name a few. Another recommended treatment is use of a cervical contour pillow for rest and healing.

The contour pillow fits the natural curve of the neck and provides support creating a neutral position while sleeping. A conventional pillow often times causes slight flexion and for those who use two or more pillows significant flexion of the neck which promotes stress on the spine and the tissues that ultimately contribute to headaches. For any questions on how you may get relief from headaches, please feel free to contact me.

- Dr. Earl J. Roth, D.C., F.I.C.P.A.
Fellow of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association
1989 graduate Antigo Senior High School
Doctor of Chiropractic and Bachelors of Science, Northwestern Health Sciences University 1997
Private Practice and Founder of In Balance Chiropractic in Antigo, WI

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