There has been advances in medical research over the recent years. The causes, treatment and management of headache and migraine symptoms are better understood than ever before. This increase in knowledge gives us the opportunity to help headache and migraine sufferers.
The muscles that move the head and neck are anchored to the bones of the skull, spine and upper ribs. Pain that originates from the muscles, joints and other tissues of the neck and head can refer pain. This pain can be felt around the head, around the temples and even around the eyes. This is due to complex neurological mechanism and the fact that “pain centres” that deal with the structures in the skull also deal with the structures in the neck.
Tension type headaches, cervicogentic headaches and migraines have all been shown to be helped by expert musculo-skeletal care. When suffering with headaches and migraine the key to success is:
- The correct diagnosis
- The development of a holistic treatment plan
- Appropriate pharmacological support
Should a diagnosis not be possible from the case history and examination, The Enfield Migraine Clinic will refer you to appropriate orthopedic or neurological consultants and MRI departments to provide the diagnostic tests required to determine the best treatment approach.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have any of the following symptoms, please contact a qualified health professional i.e. GP, osteopath or chiropractor immediately:
- The onset is following a head injury
- The headache suffer is very young or very old
- The headache is a new onset or very acute (first and worst headache of your life)
- There is weakness, numbness, tingling or other unusual symptoms associated with the headache
- There is a fever, skin rash or vomiting associated with the headache
- The sufferer feels faint, dizzy or has a seizure
A cervicogenic headache is, by its definition, any headache which is caused by the neck. The term ‘cervicogenic’ refers to the cervical or neck area of your spine. The pain of cervicogenic headache originates in the neck and then spreads to the base of the skull, side(s) of the skull or around the eyes. The headache initially starts as occasional episodes and often progresses to a continuous pain. Pain may be triggered or aggravated by neck movement or a particular neck position; it can also be triggered by stress. Manual therapy such as osteopathy has been shown to be an effective treatment for cervicogenic headache.
Causes & Risk Factors
The most common cause of a cervicogenic headache is excessive amounts of stress to the joints and muscles within the neck. The risk factors that can contribute to this type of headache include fatigue, poor sleeping position, wear and tear, cervical disc problems, current or prior neck trauma, poor posture and stress.
The diagnosis of cervicogenic headache begins with a detailed case history and physical examination. This is often all that is required to establish a working diagnosis. Other diagnostic tests may be performed such as blood pressure and heart rate: Alternatively if appropriate you may be referred back to your GP to receive additional testing such as CT or MRI scans.
Management of cervicogenic headache usually includes:
- Analgesics such as ibuprofen or aspirin
- Postural advice
- Massage and trigger point therapy
- Joint mobilisation or manipulation
- Exercise therapy
- Lifestyle advice
If you are suffering with neck pain or headaches, give one of our clinics a call to find out if we can help.