The headache in itself is very tough to bear for normal people. So what about the headache with neck and back pain? The type of headache which is called cervicogenic headache comes with both these issues, neck and back pain.
What Is Cervicogenic Headache?
These special types of headaches can usually develop due to some injury that happened as a result of a pinched nerve in the neck. Other factors that can lead to this type of headache are arthritis, neck fracture, or even a neck sprain.
What are the conditions that can cause neck pain and headache?
In some cases, the pain starts from the neck and the symptoms slowly progress into the head. Whereas in some other cases, it starts from the head, and the pain is slowly passed in course of time to the neck region. What is important is that it is nothing but the proper diagnosis. Getting a proper diagnosis is of utmost importance to treat the disease and move into a healthy stage. It also helps to manage the condition properly and reduces the pain of the patient.
Headache classification due to neck issues.
1, Cervicogenic Headache (CGH)
CGH is formed due to a disorder in one of these parts, like a disc, muscle, joint, or nerve. It is usually a one-sided type of pain that begins as a dull ache in the neck region and slowly radiates upward through the back region of the head. There is a high chance of spreading the pain to the forehead, the area around the ears, or the temple of the head. This type of headache that is formed due to an underlying condition is called a secondary headache. But headaches that are not associated with any underlying condition is called primary headache.
2, Occipital Neuralgia
The usually observed symptoms of occipital neuralgia are painful, sharp, and electric shock-like sensations on the back of the head, neck, and also ears. The pain usually observed as one-sided begins in the upper neck region first and then slowly spreads to the head region. The main cause is the irritation or injury caused to the occipital nerve.
Types of headaches that may cause neck pain
In some types of headaches, the pain may be transferred to the neck region. Such headaches can be classified as,
This is a commonly observed type of headache and has the characteristics like pain in the forehead, scalp, and neck. This type of headache can start when the muscles of the scalp and neck become tight due to stress, fear, or anxiety.
It is basically felt on one side of the head. It is a recurring type of headache, that ranges from moderate to severe and generates pain on one side of the head. Neck pain associated with migraines is very common these days. There are two possibilities, neck pain can occur before the migraine attack or during the migraine attack.
The diagnosis of cervicogenic headache
It is very difficult to diagnose this type of headache. In order to diagnose the doctors usually focus on excluding the other causes of migraine and the primary headache. After the assessment of symptoms and medical history, to confirm the cervicogenic headache, the doctor may order to do these tests.
1, Physical assessment test.
2, Nerve blocks.
3, Imaging tests.
The treatment of cervicogenic headache.
The treatment of this disease primarily focuses on how to remove the pain. The treatment varies from person to person and also depends on the severity of the symptom.
Some of the treatments are listed below:
This is considered the most important treatment for cervicogenic headaches. Special treatment programs can be arranged with the help of the physical therapist to cure the same. At the initial stage, the physical therapist will try to identify the source of the pain and from there they will start working by stimulating the soft tissue and slowly moving around the joints to remove the pain.
A doctor or a health care professional usually recommends medications and prescriptions to relieve the pain or uncomfortable symptoms. Medications that are included in the treatment of the diseases include medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medicines.
Nerve block medication.
A doctor can inject pain-numbing medicine into the nerves and joints of the neck and head. This will help in the relief of pain and also helps in determining the source of the pain.
This treatment is also called radiofrequency neurolysis. In this procedure, the tip of a needle is heated using radio waves and the needle is applied to the nerve that is causing the pain. An experienced medical professional should do the procedure. The heat from the needle results in the deadening of the nerve and the ability of the nerve to send information to the brain will be stopped. This ultimately results in pain removal.
This process is a surgery in which the electrodes are placed on the back of the head or neck. The electrode is then connected to a pulse generator through a thin wire. Then this electrode will stimulate the occipital nerves that are running from the top of the spinal cord to the head. This treatment is usually adopted when the other treatment has not worked for the patient.
One can try home remedies to cure the disease. The usual home remedy methods used are deep breathing techniques, yoga, and relaxation exercises.
Time to contact the doctor
The following symptoms show you when to contact the doctor.
Severe pain, fever, vomiting, confusion, trouble speaking, vision loss, difficulty walking, and muscle weakness.
Neck and back pain with headache symptoms should not be avoided with ease. It can lead you to serious illnesses if not properly treated. It will be very difficult for you to do your routine activities when you are having these symptoms. Diagnosis of the type of disease is very important. Proper care and medication should be taken at the right time to control and avoid such diseases.
Dr. Edward Zelman
Dr. Edward Zelman works as a Neurologist with the expertise of over 15 years, helping more than thousands to get back in complete health through his research-proven treatments. He earned his Masters from Harvard University and completed his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Dr. Edward Zelman is one of the notable names in the medical industry for his work in pain management, chronic disorder, and so on. He is also a former faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At present, Dr. Edward Zelman is researching safe and effective natural remedies that can restore as well as maintain the youthful functioning of the body.
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