A neck headache or cervicogenic headache is a secondary headache disorder which is brought about by a neck joint issue. Luckily, dealing with the neck issue can help in alleviating the neck headache.
What are the causes?
The neck headache can start from any of the musculoskeletal and neurovascular structures in the upper region of the neck including the upper 3 neck joints, neck muscles, discs and spinal cord coverings.
Dysfunction or anomalies in these regions can instigate pain signals that move to the brainstem. This is transmitted into the brain and interpreted as a headache.
A neck headache is often misdiagnosed as other headaches such as migraine since the pain is generally felt in the same area as a migraine.
In most cases, an individual will notice the following:
- Stiffness of the neck or minor loss of movement but this can be subtle
- Tenderness at the upper part of the neck and base of the skull
The following indications are the usual characteristics of a neck headache. The individual might experience one or several of these symptoms such as:
- Pain that radiates from the back to the front part of the head
- Headache is triggered or alleviated by neck movement, sustained posture, sleeping on the stomach or with the head turned to one side
- Pain is generally worse on one side of the head.
- The headache seems to briefly ease when applying pressure or massaging the neck or base of the skull
If the individual experiences any of these symptoms, he/she is likely to suffer from a neck headache.