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When neck pain causes headache

From the side, spine has a s-shaped curved. The neck (cervical) and low back (lumbar) regions have a slight concave curve, and the thoracic and sacral regions have a gentle convex curve.

PE-AnatSpine_Figure2

The curves work like a coiled spring to absorb shock, maintain balance, and allow range of motion throughout the spinal column.

 Correct Posture alignment

The muscles and correct posture maintain the natural spinal curves. Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit, and lie so that the least amount of strain is placed on the spine during movement or weight-bearing activities. Excess body weight, weak muscles, and other forces can pull at the spine’s alignment.

 

What is cervicogenic (neck pain) headache

Cervicogenic headache is a chronic headache that arises from the base of the skull and upper cervical joints and perceived in one or more region of the head and/or face.

Anatomy-of-neck-pain

 What are some of the symptoms

One sign of cervicogenic headache is pain that comes from a sudden movement of your neck. Another is that you get head pain when your neck remains in the same position for some time.

200px-CervicogenicHeadache

Other signs may include:

  • Pain on one side of your head or face
  • Steady pain that does not throb
  • Head pain when you cough, sneeze or take a deep breath
  • An attack of pain that can last for hours or days
  • Stiff neck- you cannot move your neck normally
  • Pain that stays in one spot, like the back, front, or side of your head or your eye

5 different ways to treat cervicogenic headache

If you have cervicogenic headaches, there are several ways to lessen the pain, or get rid of it completely:

  • Medicine: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (spirin or ibufropen), muscle relaxers, and other pain relievers may ease the pain.
  • Physical therapy: Stretches and exercises can help. Work with your doctor or a physical therapist to find out what kind of exercise is best and safest for you.
  • Spinal manipulation: This is a mix of physical therapy, massage, and joint movement. It should only be done by a physical therapist, or an osteopath (a doctor who has special training in the way your nerves, bones, and muscles work together).
  • Other options: Non-surgical ways to deal with the pain include relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or yoga, and acupuncture.
  • Surgery: If your pain from cervicogenic is severe, your doctor may suggest an operation to keep your nerves from being squeezed, but this is rare.

5 exercises to relieve cervicogenic headache

Craniocervical Flexion (CCF) Exercise

Lie down on your back with a rolled towel behind your neck. Make a nodding motion with your neck and head and hold for 10 seconds. Progress to rCCFaising your arms on either side for the duration of the hold.

Once your neck and head are strong, sit against a wall and perform the nodding motion and holding position without neck support.

Chin tuck exercise

While lying on your back, tuck your chin towards your chest and press the back of your head into the table.

Maintain contact of head with the surface you are lying on the entire time.

Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 10 times

Supine chin tuck

 

Neck Rotation Exercise

With your arms crossed hold the towel firmly to your chest and the other hand has the towel pressed against your check bone. Pull the towel across your cheekbone with the towel doing the work and your neck feeling the stretch

Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 10 timescervical rotation

 

Neck Side bend Exercise

Stand or sit and drop your head to the right side. Touch your right shoulder to the right ear without moving your shoulder upward. Hold the position for 30 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat on the left side.

Strengthen these muscles by using your hand as resistance support against the temple. Hold the position for 10 seconds on each side.

upper trap stretch

 

Shoulder Squeeze Exercise

Sit or stand with your hips straight, not leaning forward or backward. Slowly move your shoulders backwards and gently thrust your chest outwards.

Once you’re in a comfortable but stretched position, hold still for five seconds. Release and return to the staring position and repeat 10 times.

scapular retraction

 

In conclusion, cervicogenic headaches may cause either mild discomfort or severe pain due to damage or injury to the nerves in the cervical spine. Most cases of this form of headache can be alleviated, or prevented, by stretching and strengthening the head and neck muscles, tissues, and bones.

Clinical studies have shown improvement of cervicogenic headache episodes when combining stretching exercises with targeted strengthening exercises.

As with any exercise treatment, it is best to start slow and gradually progress as your strength is regained. You should also consult with your doctor before performing any of the above exercises to reduce the risk of injury.

 

 

 

 

 

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fitbytandem

My life revolves around health and fitness. As a young child, I enjoyed different style of dance. As an adult, I became a physical therapist. I helped people recover from injuries, pain or surgery. I also enjoy working out in my spare time. So I started teaching group fitness classes.
This blog is all about health, fitness and healthy lifestyle.

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