What Is Cervicogenic Headache
Cervicogenic headache occurs when pain is referred from a specific source in the neck up to the head. This pain is commonly a steady ache or dull feeling, but sometimes the pain intensity can worsen. CGH symptoms are usually side-locked, which means they occur on one side of the neck, head, and/or face.
Cervicogenic headache usually begins as a dull ache in the neck and radiates upward along the back of the head, almost always one-sided. Pain may also spread to the forehead, temple, and area around the eyes and/or ears. CGH is caused due to an underlying disc, joint, muscle, or nerve disorder in the neck.
CGH is a secondary headache that occurs because of a physical or neurologic condition that started first. CGH may be caused by trauma, such as fracture, dislocation, or whiplash injury, or an underlying medical condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, or infection. While the pain source is located in the cervical spine, CGH can be difficult to diagnose because pain is not always felt in the neck. CGH symptoms can also mimic primary headaches, such as migraine and tension-type headache.
Stimulation Of Dura Mater
A spasm that starts in the upper spine may affect the outer membrane of the spinal cord and brain . Since this membrane is especially sensitive, the stimulation from the muscle spasm may trigger a tension headache. While your brain has no feeling, stimulation or irritation of the dura mater can result in the symptoms characteristic of tension headaches.
Headaches Caused By A Neck Problem
Headaches stemming from a neck problem are usually chronic and vary in type depending on the cause. Common examples include:
- Cervicogenic headache . CGH usually begins as a dull ache in the neck and radiates upward along the back of the head, almost always affecting just one side. Pain may also spread to the forehead, temple, and area around the eyes and/or ears. CGH is caused due to an underlying disc, joint, muscle, or nerve disorder in the neck.
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How Are Back And Neck Pain Treated
If you experience acute back or neck pain, it may simply improve with some rest. Over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may also help with the discomfort. You should try to move gently during this period, so that you will not become stiff and lose mobility.
If you have chronic pain of your back and neck, you should try several remedies that may be helpful, before seeking surgical options. These include:
Hot or cold packs
Specific exercises to strengthen muscles and ease pain, such as stretching and flexing. Your health care provider can provide and demonstrate these exercises.
Aerobic exercise may be permitted and can help with your overall fitness and strength
Certain anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants may be used, with your health care providers supervision
Braces or corsets for extra support
Injections for pain relief in the area
Nerve block, which decreases pain signals from the affected nerve
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Surgical interventions to correct spinal deformity include spinal fusion, which is a surgical procedure that uses bone graft to replace a disc. After undergoing surgery, your back will require physical therapy for three to six months. In addition to doctors and dentists, you can also see neurologists, physiatrists, and chiropractors. These specialists specialize in the brain and spinal cord disorders. They are often the best choice for patients seeking treatment for back pain.
Non-specific back pain is usually not diagnosed until the pain is long-term. There is no clear cause for non-specific back pain, but doctors should seek a diagnosis to treat the condition. It is important to visit a specialist for treatment in order to get the best treatment options. If the pain is chronic or has no specific cause, a doctor will perform diagnostic imaging to help identify the exact source of the pain. Further, they can perform MRIs to help diagnose underlying conditions.
While back pain is a common ailment, it can also be caused by something else. Many people experience sciatica or other pain in the leg, and a slipped disc could be the cause. Other types of back pain may be more acute, such as a herniated disc. For nonspecific back pain, a doctor may need to perform radiological imaging to diagnose the exact cause of the pain.
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Bad Posture Is Another Cause Of Tension Headaches
Having a bad posture has also been identified as one of the causes of tension headaches. An uncomfortable working position is stressful, and holding this for a long time will eventually cause tension headaches to develop. This being said, even sleeping with the head in an awkward position can cause tension headaches.
Another theory in the study on causes of tension headache is related to the chemicals in the brain. One suspected chemical is serotonin. Muscles emit signals to the brain, but a suspected faulty pain filter wrongly interprets this as pain, and hence patients experience the pain as tension headaches.
However, one conflicting factor is said to may or may not cause tension headache, and that is the issue of hereditary. Reports have claimed that tension headaches are not hereditary and that patients do not inherit them from family members.
Other sources say that genetic makeup has been found to play a part in determining if a person is more susceptible to tension headaches. And this susceptibility is equal in both males and females.
But studies have shown that females are more likely than males to experience tension headaches, so other factors like stress, hormones, and the environment affect the development of tension headaches.
Other sources of stress apart from work are school, family, and friends. A person who is easily depressed or always anxious is more susceptible to developing tension stress than a generally happy person.
Tingling In The Head: Causes And Treatments
A wide range of issues can cause you to feel numbness, the sensation of pins and needles, or tingling in the head and face. Clinically referred to as paresthesia, this condition is a sign of neuropathy, which is damage or dysfunction of the nerves.
Upper respiratory and sinus infections are common causes of paresthesia, as are headache disorders, head injuries, and diabetes, among other conditions. Tingling in the head may also arise due to neurological and autoimmune conditions, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.
This article breaks down the common causes of numbness and pins-and-needles sensations in the head and face, as well as what you can do to manage them.
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Pain In The Back Of The Head When Lying Down
Cluster headaches are rare but extremely painful. They get their name from the cluster periods in which they occur. People with cluster headaches experience frequent attacks. These periods or patterns of attack may last weeks or months.
Cluster headaches may cause pain in the back of the head or the sides of the head. They may get worse when lying down. Other symptoms to watch for include:
- sharp, penetrating, burning pain
Treatment is most effective when its based on the exact cause of your headache.
Treatment Of Headache And Nosebleed
Cauterization may be used for those with chronic nosebleeds that are taking progressively longer to stop the bleeding each time. Meanwhile, pain medication can be recommended to help with headaches. This can be an issue if the suggestion is aspirin, because aspirin thins the blood and can exacerbate the nosebleed.
There can also be an issue if you take medicine to treat a headache too often, as the concept of rebound headaches can be introduced. Rebound headaches are caused because you take medicine at a certain time, and the body begins to expect that medication. When it is not introduced, the body causes a reaction to get the expected medicine. Therefore, it is a vicious cycle that repeats until you can get through without taking medicine for a couple days in a row.
For those with chronic migraines, a specific medication from a group of similar medicines may be prescribed. It is wise to ask questions about potential side effects of these medications and to be very careful when taking them.
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Bacterial And Viral Infections
Certain bacterial and viral infections can also lead to tingling in the head and face. This can accompany encephalitis, a bacterial infection that causes swelling of the brain.
Symptoms also arise in cases of transverse myelination, a rare condition that causes inflammation in the spine. Most cases of TM arise are due to viral and bacterial infections, including:
A Foreign Man With Headache And Backache
Per Kristian Skorpen specialist in internal medicine and senior consultant at Nordland Hospital Vesterålen.
The author has completed the ICMJE form and reports no conflicts of interest.
Hanne Thoresen specialist in radiology and radiologist at the Diagnostic Clinic, Nordland Hospital Bodø.
The author has completed the ICMJE form and reports no conflicts of interest.
Department of Radiology
A man of African origin was hospitalised with headache and backache. MRI yielded surprising findings. Imported diseases must not be forgotten, even in persons who have lived in Norway for a long time.
A man in his forties from an African nation was admitted to the medical department of a Norwegian local hospital with headache and backache. He had lived in Europe for many years without visiting his native country. He had previously had malaria and iridocyclitis but had otherwise been mostly in good health. However, for four years prior to his current hospitalisation, he had been suffering from right-sided back pain, although this had not required him to give up work. A lumbosacral spine CT scan from that time showed no signs of pathology. One month prior to the hospitalisation, the patient had undergone MRI of his right ankle because of pain, but the results had been normal.
That same evening the patient was re-examined by another doctor on duty. He ordered an MRI of the lumbosacral spine owing to the continued urinary retention and back pain.
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The Headache/back Pain Connection
What brings headaches and back pain together? The answer is painfully simple: Poor back and spinal health. You may think you don’t need to worry too much about taking care of the health of your spinal column, but as it turns out, this is one of the most important areas of your body which you do indeed need to be focusing on. Poor spinal health can lead to not only back pain, but a myriad of other health problems as well. This includes one of the most common health issues we all face at some point or another — headaches. If you experience back pain and headaches on a relatively frequent basis, or you notice the discomfort caused by these health issues has been getting steadily and increasingly worse over the past few weeks/months/years, you may be surprised to find out that a spinal misalignment — also known as a vertebral subluxation — may be to blame for your woes.
The Spine and the Rest of the Body: How They’re Connected
These spinal misalignments can be brought about by a wide variety of causes. Injury, illness, strain, stress, and even a poor diet or sleeping habits can lead to a subluxation, either directly or in a more indirect manner. When the spine is misaligned, the rest of the body may tense up in its efforts to overcompensate by keeping the body balanced due to other means. Tension headaches and even migraine headaches are a very common result of this issue.
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Why Do Neck Pain And Headaches Occur Together
There is no one special reason for headaches and neck pain to go together. Few conditions may begin as neck problems and then shoot these problems up to the head, while few problems triggered in the head are sent back to the neck. This is the reason why they both occur together.
Trigeminocervical nucleus, Dura Mater of the brain, brain tissues, and blood vessels in the head and immune system also have their role for the occurrence of these pains together. Besides, the posture of the body can also lead to both the pains at a time.
To explain it further, a combination of 1 or multiple pain mechanisms and pathways is most responsible for the cause of neck pain and headache together.
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Arthritis In The Spine
There is less mysterious explanation for many cases in which lower back pain co-exists with migraine or tension headaches, and it has to do with arthritis of the lower spine. This may sound puzzling. What would bone deterioration in the lower spine have to do with headaches?
Lets return to the central nerve trunk, the spinal cord, that is housed within the spine itself. The spine is made up of a stack of backbones called vertebrae, each of which has a central opening that holds the spinal cord. The spine is sturdy yet flexible. It has cushions that absorb the shock of movement, and hinges that allow a certain amount of bending and twistingall the while protecting the spinal cord within it. Its a very clever system.
iYoon MS, Manack A, Schramm S, Fritsche G et al. Chronic migraine and chronic tension-type headache are associated with concomitant low back pain: results of the German Headache Consortium study. Pain. 2013 Mar 154:484-92.
How Can I Prevent Back Pain In The Future
While Dr. Williams and the caring team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta are hyper-focused on helping patients become pain-free, preventing future pain is one of their top priorities. Follow these lifestyle and behavioral tips to help ensure you avoid back pain in the future:
- Sleep with your spine in a neutral position
- Practice good posture
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Can Neck Pain Cause A Headache On One Side
Along with causing headache neck pain at times can be observed on only one side of the neck like right side neck pain or left side neck pain with a headache. This kind of pain on the particular side may be the offshoot of many underlying conditions like injuries, blood vessel problems, and inflammatory diseases. Tension headaches and migraines can also lead to pain on one side of the head.
Reduced Range Of Motion In The Spine
Vertebral subluxations in the neck and upper spine may reduce range of motion in the upper spine enough to affect the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle located in the back of the head and neck. If this muscle spasms, it may affect a tendon that goes from your upper neck to the lower part of your skull.
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Phases Of A Migraine Attack
Prodrome Phase This first phase of migraine can occur hours to days prior to the attack, says Dr. Spears. It typically involves a change in mood and energy certain cravings or excessive yawning can be a sign of prodrome, he says.
People sometimes confuse these prodrome, or premonitory, symptoms, with migraine triggers. Thats to say, a person who craves chocolate as a prodrome symptom may mistakenly believe that consuming chocolate triggered the migraine attack, according to MigraineAgain.
Aura About 25 to 35 percent of people with migraine have aura, says Spears. The most common aura is a visual change with a kaleidoscope-like phenomenon that can last anywhere from five minutes to an hour but usually much less than an hour, he says. Other aura symptoms may include tingling sensations, numbness, garbled speech, and clumsiness or weakness.
Headache Phase This stage can last 4 to 72 hours, and in most patients, its marked by a headache on one side of the head thats throbbing and pulsating in quality. Typically, the pain is described as moderate to severe, says Spears.
The headache phase is also associated with becoming sensitive to the environment, he adds. Light, sound, and odor sensitivity are common, as are nausea and vomiting, he says.
Stay Solid Lower Back Pain And Headache Causes
Once your lower neck and back pain has actually declined, you can help prevent future episodes of back pain by functioning the muscles that sustain your lower back, consisting of the back extensor muscle mass. They help you maintain the proper position and also positioning of your back. Having solid hip, pelvic, and also stomach muscles likewise offers you extra back support. Stay clear of abdominal problems, due to the fact that they can really put more pressure on your back.
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Treating Headaches Caused By Poor Posture
Headaches caused by poor posture can be treated immediately with acetaminophen. In the long term, you can treat or try to prevent these headaches by improving your posture. Purchase an ergonomic work chair with good lumbar support, and sit with both feet on the ground.