Occasionally, either the C2 or C3 nerve root can get pinched as it leaves the cervical spine. These are mostly sensory nerve roots, and if they are pinched it can cause a chronic headache. Pain is generally felt in the back of the head or the occipital region.
The headache can usually be relieved through one or a combination of nonsurgical treatments, including:
- An injection of Lidocaine/steroid around the nerve root to relieve the inflammation and numb the area
- NSAIDs to relieve the inflammation
- Chiropractic adjustment
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In very severe cases (which are rare), a surgical decompression of the cervical nerve root may be needed to relieve pressure on the nerve.