Cervicogenic Headaches Underlying Triggers
Cervicogenic headaches can be easily confused with migraine headaches. They can have various underlying triggers/causes that require different treatment approaches for pain management and recovery.
- These types of headaches are related to excessive neck stress
- It could be the result of cervical osteoarthritis (spondylosis)
- Damaged disc/s
- Type of movement that irritates or compresses a cervical nerve
Table of Contents
A cervicogenic headache is regarded as a secondary headache brought on by an underlying trigger. They start in the neck and back of the head. Individuals usually describe the feeling primarily as muscle tension. This tension causes pain in the back of the skull that radiates/spreads up and outward to the front of the head. It is common for individuals only to notice the headache pain and not realize the underlying trigger in the neck. Symptoms associated with this type of headache include:
- Stiffness in the neck limits movement
- Neck pain presents by certain movements or positioning
- Tenderness in the shoulders, neck, and back of the skull
- Pain around the eyes, neck
- Pain on one side of the head
- Sensitivity to light
A common underlying trigger is a structural problem with the cervical spine/neck. This can cause:
- Poor nerve flow
- Muscle imbalances
- Connective tissue strain
- All can generate upper neck stiffness
Structural issues can come from:
- A previous neck injury
- Work occupation that strains the neck and back
- Prolonged sitting, combined with poor posture work
- Manual labor
- Automobile accidents and sports injuries causing whiplash are the primary causes of this pain.
Getting Chiropractic Treatment
A typical treatment from traditional medicine is pain medication/s. However, this will not alleviate the underlying neck issues that are causing the pain that can lead to chronic pain. Restoring the alignment of the cervical spine is essential to bring back balance and optimal nerve health to the entire body. This will reduce symptoms and increase long-term healing. A highly recommended treatment option for spinal re-alignment is chiropractic care. Chiropractors are expertly trained to use science-based treatment techniques that are highly effective and bring positive results. Individuals can recover and be educated on how to manage headaches/pain. As spinal alignment is achieved, a chiropractor will make recommendations on natural pain management, stretching, exercise, posture, diet, and more.
Lean Body Mass vs. Muscle Mass
Lean Body Mass, also known as lean mass, is the body’s total weight minus all the weight due to fat mass.
Lean Body Mass LBM = Total Weight – Fat Mass
Lean Body Mass includes the weight of the:
- Body Water
- Muscle Mass
Lean Body Mass correctly describes the body’s entire weight minus the fat. Because Lean Body Mass comprises many areas, any change in weight can be recorded as changes in Lean Body Mass. Remember that the weight of the organs will not change significantly. Bone density decreases over time, but it will not significantly affect the weight of Lean Body Mass. Two major areas to focus on are body water and muscle mass. When discussing gaining muscle by consuming more protein or muscle-building exercises/workouts, they are talking about gaining or building Skeletal Muscle Mass. The three major muscle types include:
- Skeletal muscle mass is the only type of muscle that can actively grow and develop through exercise and nutrition.
Fredriksen, Torbjørn A et al. “Cervicogenic headache: too important to be left un-diagnosed.” The journal of headache and pain vol. 16 (2015): 6. doi:10.1186/1129-2377-16-6
Chaibi, Aleksander, and Michael Bjørn Russell. “Manual therapies for cervicogenic headache: a systematic review.” The journal of headache and pain vol. 13,5 (2012): 351-9. doi:10.1007/s10194-012-0436-7
Rubio-Ochoa, J et al. “Physical examination tests for screening and diagnosis of cervicogenic headache: A systematic review.” Manual therapy vol. 21 (2016): 35-40. doi:10.1016/j.math.2015.09.008
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