Potential Causes Of Cervicogenic Headaches
The cause of a cervicogenic headache is often related to excessive stress to the neck. The headache may result from cervical osteoarthritis , a damaged disc, or whiplash-type movement that irritates or compresses a cervical nerve. The neck’s bony structures and its soft tissues can contribute to the development of a cervicogenic headache.
Causes Of Cervical Vertigo
The symptoms of vertigo can vary from patient to patient, so it is important that the condition is diagnosed properly. Some of the potential causes of cervical vertigo include:
- Traumatic Injury: some of the common symptoms of cervical vertigo are also referred to as whiplash. Whiplash typically occurs after a car accident or similar trauma. Closed-head injuries can also contribute to the symptoms of cervical vertigo.
- Herniated or Slipped Disc: this condition refers to the occurrence of a spinal disc that is no longer where it should be. Spinal discs are structures that exists between vertebrae and act as a cushion between the bones, as well as provide support for the spine. If a disc is herniated, it can pinch nerves in the area.
- Osteoarthritis: the condition of arthritis occurs when structures deteriorate over time. This process is natural, but it can sometimes develop to a point where bone structure becomes impacted, which may lead to pinched nerves or constricted blood vessels.
- Spinal Disorders: conditions such as scoliosis could contribute to symptoms of vertigo. Some individuals are born with spinal misalignment, which can be benign but sometimes lead to other conditions such as vertigo.
There are some other potential causes of cervical vertigo, these are the most common.
What Does Cervicogenic Mean
The term cervicogenic headache is commonly misused and does not simply apply to a headache associated with neck pain; many headache disorders, including migraine and tension-type headache, can have associated neck pain/tension. Rather, there must be evidence of a disorder or lesion within the cervical spine or soft tissues of the neck, known to be able to cause a headache. Such disorders include tumors, fractures, infections and rheumatoid arthritis of the upper cervical spine. There is debate as to whether cervical spondylosis can cause cervicogenic headache.
People with cervicogenic headaches often have a reduced range of motion of their neck and worsening of their headache with certain movements of their neck or pressure applied to certain spots on their neck. The headaches are often side-locked , and the pain may radiate from the neck/back of the head up to the front of the head or behind the eye. The headache may or may not be associated with neck pain.
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Treating Neck Pain From Migraine
There are several theories as to why you might experience neck pain with a migraine. One is that the migraine might affect the trigeminocervical complex, a part of the brain that contains pain nerves linked to the face and upper neck.
Other researchers believe that musculoskeletal problems could trigger migraine by activating nerves in the upper neck.
The exact link between migraine and neck pain remains unknown. This makes it harder to know how to treat neck pain resulting from migraine. In fact, treating associated neck pain may be best accomplished by treating the migraine itself.
Ideally, migraine should be treated as early as possible . This is when they are most likely to respond to medication. Options include non-specific migraine treatments such as:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- metoclopramide , an anti-nausea medication
- migraine-specific treatments, such as triptans, ditans, and gepants
Mechanisms Of Cervicogenic Facial Pain
The trigeminal nerve arises from the mid-brain or brain-stem , which is located above the spinal cord. But the nucleus of this nerve , extends from the brain-stem down to the third cervical segment of the spinal cord . It is surrounded by the ganglions of the spinal nerves and is known to interact with these cells . This functional interaction is responsible for the to and fro referral of painful sensations from neck and face. This can even result in headache, which is referred as cervicogenic headache .
Picture 1: Trigeminal Nerve Origin
Several receptors are responsible for perception of sensations on the face. Touch, pain, pressure, temperature, and so on, are all perceived by individual receptors present in the skin. Nerve fibers from these receptors form sensory nerves and carry the sensations from these receptors to the brain. However, due to interconnections between these nerves the sensations from a particular area reach several nerves and reach the brain by different pathways. So if a particular nerve is damaged the neighboring nerves carry the sensations from that part. That is why, if a single nerve is damaged, it only leads to partial loss of sensations rather than complete numbness.
Picture 2: Trigeminal Nucleus with spinal interconnections
Treatment of Cervicogenic Facial Pain discusses the various treatment options that can effectively help to control this disease.
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Cervical Vertigo: How A Pinched Nerve Can Cause Chronic Dizziness
The condition of vertigo is common in the senior population and in people who have experienced certain brain injuries.
Cervical Vertigo is characterized by dizziness, nausea, and general instability. There are many more symptoms that may occur, however, and many potential causes of the condition.
Furthermore, there are several different types of vertigo, all with their own symptoms and treatment methods. The condition of cervical vertigo refers to vertigo that is being caused by an abnormality in the neck, also called the cervical spine region.
This article will discuss the anatomy of the cervical spine region and the condition, signs, and symptoms, what may be causing symptoms, how it is diagnosed and treated, and what alternative therapies may alleviate symptoms.
Sorts Of Pain Brought On By Pinched Shoulder Blade Nerves
This type of pain and also degree of discomfort in the shoulders as well as arms usually depends upon where the squeezed nerve lies.
Scientists from the National Institute of Neurological Conditions and Stroke say that pinched nerves cause discomfort to radiate outside. This can create numerous types of discomfort, for instance: 2
Prickling or tingling feelingsBurning pains radiating down the shoulder and also down the armLoss of experience in the damaged area
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Upper Cervical Chiropractic And Migraines
If the word chiropractor makes you nervous, we want to assure you that upper cervical chiropractic care is very different. Adjustments are precise, gentle , and only focus on the C1 and C2. Gentle adjustments may also last longer, which can make this a cost-effective form of care.
To learn more about upper cervical chiropractic care, contact a practitioner in your area. You may find that a gentle adjustment or two can have significant benefits for your health, including helping with migraines.
to schedule a consultation today.
Symptoms Of Cervicogenic Headaches
If your headaches are starting in your neck, here are a few of the symptoms that you may experience along with the headache itself.
- Neck pain Sometimes the neck may be stiff or sore either during the headache or in the hours leading up to the start of a headache.
- Nausea or vomiting These are also symptoms of migraines. Either way, the genesis of the problem may be the upper cervical spine.
- Dizziness Disruptions in the cervical spine can also lead to dizziness due to a reduced amount of blood and oxygen reaching certain parts of the brain.
- Light and sound sensitivities Sensory sensitivities are another common migraine symptom, so if you are experiencing these sensory sensitivities, whether you are dealing with migraines or ordinary headaches, the neck is still the right place to look. This is because all of the signals that connect the brain to sensory stimuli have to come through the spinal cord and brainstem. The place where these two meet is inside the atlas .
- Pain, numbness, or tingling in the arms The neck is the starting location of the nerves that travel all the way down both arms. So if you are experiencing pain in the shoulders, elbows, forearms, or wrists, the issue may be a pinched nerve in the neck.
While you may or may not experience these additional symptoms, it is always important to check the neck when headaches are recurring or chronic. But what can cause the misalignments that lead to cervicogenic headaches?
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Why Does My Neck Pain Cause Headaches
Understanding how these issues are connected makes it easier to see how to help headaches from neck pain. Your neck and head are closely related, so it should be no surprise that a pain in the neck can also cause a headache. The connection between the two depends largely on the cause of your neck pain and the type of headaches you experience.
What Are The Possible Causes Of Neck Pain
Many different medical issues and injuries can cause neck pain. Conditions that may cause neck pain include:
- Aging: Degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis can lead to neck pain as you age. Over time, stress and motion can lead to spinal disc degeneration, causing a herniated disc or pinched nerve.
- Injury: Trauma from sudden forced movement of the neck or head and rebound in the opposite direction can cause pain and soreness. The muscles, ligaments, discs, vertebral joints and nerve roots in the spine cord in the neck can be affected in trauma injuries.
- Mental stress: Tightening your neck muscles due to tension commonly causes neck pain and stiffness.
- Physical strain: Overusing your neck muscles during repetitive actions or strenuous activities can lead to stiffness and pain.
- Conditions that affect spinal balance: Poor posture , being overweight, weak abdominal muscles can all affect spine posture and contribute to neck pain.
- Growths: In rare cases, masses including tumors, cysts and bone spurs can cause neck pain.
- Other health conditions:Meningitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer.
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Complications Due To Middle Fossa Surgical Approach
The middle fossa approach to the facial nerve, necessary in some cases, is a more serious operation. Hearing and balance disturbances are more likely following this surgery. Permanent impairment is none the less uncommon.
Hematoma Hematomas develop in a small percentage of cases, prolonging hospitalization and healing. Reoperation to remove the clot may be necessary if this complication occurs.
Cerebrospinal fluid leak A cerebrospinal fluid leak develops in an occasional case. Reoperation may be necessary to stop the leak.
Infection-Infections are a rare occurrence following facial nerve surgery. Should an infection develop after a middle fossa it could lead to meningitis, an infection in the fluid surrounding the brain. Fortunately, this complication is very rare.
Temporary paralysis Temporary paralysis of half of the body has occurred following middle fossa operation , due to brain swelling. This complication is extremely rare.
Pinched Nerve In The Neck And Dizziness: Is There A Link
Can a pinched nerve in the neck cause dizziness? This is just among the many questions many patients ask during their first consultation. After all, dizziness is quite a common symptom. Sometimes, it denotes a cardiovascular problem like hypertension or stroke. On the one hand, it may be a sign of a vestibular or balance organ malfunction or abnormal blood sugar levels.;;
Because it can result from various health concerns, some patients wonder if it can get triggered by a pinched nerve in the neck. Lets take a deeper dive into this topic below.
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Pinched Neck Nerve Symptoms
While often not the first symptom described, many individuals with a pinched nerve in the neck suffer from headaches. When the upper nerve roots are involved, the headache is described as a cervicogenic headache. However, headaches caused by lower nerves in the neck are more common.
Usually, the head pain is located on the same side as the affected nerve root and is described as aching in nature. Often, the headache will move from the back of the head to the forehead, and there is tenderness when pressure is applied to the muscles in the neck on the same side as the pinched nerve.
Additional symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck may include:
- Muscle spasms
- Pain when moving the neck
- Same-sided shoulder and arm pain
- Numbness and tingling
Symptoms like fever, sudden weight loss, pain that is especially worse at night, or having a history of cancer or a suppressed immune system require immediate medical attention.
Medical conditions like cancer, a spinal abscess, or a condition called cervical myelopathy cause symptoms that can mimic those of radicular neck pain.
Regenerative Medicine Treatments For Cervical Vertigo
The emerging field of Regenerative Medicine addresses issues such as cervical vertigo, among many others. Using cutting-edge technology, experts are able to provide treatment for a wide range of conditions. CellAxys offers two forms of Regenerative Medicine:
- Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy: this form of therapy involves taking a patients own mesenchymal stem cells. These cells are harvested from a patients bone marrow. They are then processed to be more concentrated, then reinjected into the problem area. In the cervical spine, they would be injected into the facet joints. Mesencymal Stem Cells contain healing properties which could be used to repair the damage that has occurred.
- Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy: this form of therapy begins with a blood draw. The blood sample is then placed in a centrifuge, which is able to separate the platelets from other properties in the blood. Platelets contain proteins and growth factors that allow healing to occur wherever they exist in the body. The concentrated platelet solution is then injected into a patients injury site, similar to mesenchymal stem cell injections.
These forms of treatment use imaging techniques such as live X-ray or Ultrasound to guide the needle to the injury site. This ensures that treatment is as effective as possible.
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How To Prevent Or Manage The Pain
A successful diagnosis pinpoints possible causes of headaches. For instance, the doctor can tell whether a bad posture while working is straining the neck muscles and advise better sitting and sleeping postures. Through the imaging tests, nerve and muscle degeneration may be detected and the appropriate cause of action recommended. These may include relaxation techniques such as meditation, exercise, and yoga. Relaxation increases blood flow to the muscles and nerves, which escalates the healing process.
Cold and hot treatments on the specific pain areas may help manage the pain and promote blood flow. Wrap ice cubes with a towel, then place on the neck as you gently massage the area for 20 minutes, then replace with a hot wrap for another 20 minutes. Repeat the process several times daily. Professional massage may also help, especially after a long day at work. When the pain results from degeneration of neck and spinal cord muscles, apart from taking pain medication, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle may help stop or slow down the process. Also, drink more water, eat more fruits and vegetables, and avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption numbs or destroys spinal nerves which speed up the degeneration process. Osteoarthritis and muscle degeneration may not be preventable, but the pain is manageable through physical therapy and pain medication.
Treating And Preventing Trigeminal Nerve Migraine Headaches
Our Savannah TMJ dentist can help you put a stop to trigeminal migraines for life. After an examination, we can tell you if TMJ is the cause of your frequent headaches. More often than not it is. Once weve properly diagnosed your TMJ, we can begin a treatment plan to help your jaw joints reestablish balance and prevent migraines from occurring for life. Start your TMJ treatment in Savannah as soon as possible by scheduling a consultation with our TMJ dentist.
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Neck Pain & Migraine Treatment
It is important to note that using chiropractic care for neck pain relief has been shown to additionally provide migraine relief. One study found that 11 patients who received chiropractic care for two months were able to reduce the number of days per month that they were suffering from migraines from 14.5 to 8.7.
Are you experiencing migraine attacks that you believe might be arising, in part, from tightness in your neck? At Envista Medical, we provide chiropractic care along with spinal decompression, physiotherapy, and interventional medicine to address and treat the underlying causes of your chronic neck pain and headaches or migraines.
How Are Cervicogenic Headaches Treated
It is important to try to determine exactly which structures in the neck are causing the headaches. Once this has been done, an appropriate treatment may be prescribed.
Initially, cervicogenic headaches are treated with pain medications and physiotherapy. Avoidance of aggravating activities is important.
Constant cervicogenic headaches arising from the facet joints may respond to percutaneous radiofrequency denervation . A facet joint block with local anaesthetic is usually performed first to confirm the diagnosis.
C2 radiofrequency pulse ganglionotomy is another technique which may benefit some patients, particularly if C2 nerve root compression is thought to be involved in the production of the headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches secondary to cervical disc prolapse or nerve root compression often improve with microsurgical discectomy and fusion.
Peripheral nerve stimulation of the greater and lesser occipital nerves is an effective technique in patients with cervicogenic headaches . It appears that around 70% of patients who are resistant to other conventional therapies may benefit from this fairly low-risk surgical technique.
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