Headaches are a common medical complaint affecting both adults and children. Some headaches originate from the neck area and are termed cervicogenic headaches, which simply implies generated from the cervical spine. This type of headache can be very common and is caused by irritated joints and muscles in your neck.
Symptoms of Cervicogenic Headache
Cervicogenic headache usually starts in the muscular area at the back of the head, and tend to radiate up the back, around the side, and to the front of the head.
Pain is usually on one side of the head.
Pain can sometimes be felt over, or within, the eye on the same affected side.
Dizziness, nausea, blurry vision
What Causes These Headaches?
Tiny facet joints (C2/C3) in your upper neck can get irritated and inflamed, causing pain. This inflammation can also irritate the nerves to these joints and the neck (Sub-occipital nerve and Optic nerve) further causing pain and driving the headache.
Sometimes these joints and surrounding muscles become mechanically strained and inflamed due to poor posture, an awkward lifting/pulling motion with your shoulder, or simply because your spine is maligned straining the joints in your upper spine.
Osteopathic Treatment of Headaches
As osteopaths, we treat adults and children with headaches on a daily basis and have had some exceptional results in this area, with patients often reporting significant changes in their symptoms after treatment.
Treatment focuses on relieving muscle tension, improving mobility in the joints and improving circulation to tissues in your neck which can ease the symptoms of headache. Rehabilitation programmes to address posture, stress, poor office ergonomics, or other triggers for your headache will also be considered, in order to address the underlying cause of the headache.
We believe in educating our patients about their headaches and providing as much information as possible so you can be in better control of your health.
Lorraine Herity is the Clinic Director of Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch, New Zealand. She previously worked in Osteopathic clinics in London and Ireland, before moving to New Zealand. Lorraine trained at the British School of Osteopathy in London, where she gained her Master of Osteopathy (M.Ost). Lorraine is a dedicated and passionate Osteopath. Her main aim is to help her patients regain their health, and to return her patients back to their everyday activities, in as quick a time as possible.