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How to treat cervicogenic headache

2

Comments

  • Jill AnnJJill Ann Missoula MTPosts: 11
    I've had these headaches for years and tried everything from massage, acupuncture, mouth guards, and pills to no avail.  My headaches and face pain had gotten worse and I finally looked and looked at Spine-Health to find the answer.  I put a note in with no responses. (I think SH needs to somehow better organize the forum so it doesn't end up with hundreds of discussions leading people to no answers.) Somehow, though, one morning I happened in a desperate letter.  I read it to my husband and said doesn't this sound familiar?  Cervicogenic  headaches!  I spoke with my neurosurgeon about another problem and mentioned it and then my to my pain doctor. The problem stems from the nerves coming out of a facet joint.  I am now in the process of getting nerve blocks using temporary deadening drugs (lidocaine sp.) to see if the pain goes away.  They do this twice to make sure there is no placebo effect.  If the pain goes away and comes back twice then they move on to a procedure where a needle is inserted into the facet joint and using a radio frequency which heats up the needle and  kills the nerves in that area.  Hopefully this will work.  If not then a fusion is in store.   There is a video on SH.  I hope this helps.
    Jill Dahl  :)
  • maehaleymaehaley PennsylvaniaPosts: 322

    I will admit that I had to look up the term cerviogenic headaches, but I definitely have them! I have had headaches since I was a teenager. I had some testing done back then but everything was normal. I basically took a lot of Excedrin over the years. Gradually my headaches turned into what I called tension headaches, with the pain being more in the back of my neck and tightness in my shoulder blade muscles. Not really a headache per se, but I didn't know what else to call it. Very often pain in my head area as well though. I finally went to my PCP because the pain and tightness were so bad. He did x-rays, which showed nothing so he too said tension headaches. He tried fioricet which didn't really help so then he prescribed vicoprofen and flexiril, which helped immensely! I also went to physical therapy, massage, etc. This was about 3 years ago. I admit that I have kind of ignored the symptoms over the years and just continued to suffer and take the medication, under the care of my doctor. Well eventually the medications were not as effective and the pain and tightness continued to get worse. I finally asked to see a Neurologist after a brain MRI came back normal. He ordered a neck MRI which showed herniated discs at levels C5/C6. So after all these years it turns out that there was actually a neck issue causing my pain and headaches! I will be seeing a pain management doctor and starting physical therapy tomorrow so we will see what happens. At this point I basically have a constant headache/neck ache even with pain medication and a muscle relaxer. Laying down with heat on my neck helps as well, but who has time for that?!

    Anyway, it seems that the term cerviogenic headache is a little controversial from what I just read online. Have you had any luck since your post? I have just learned to accept headaches as a way of life but I am hoping that others have ways to find relief!

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  • I wish I could help you with this also. Unfortunately its not something that goes away easily with a few advil and time. I have been dealing with it for approximately 2 years + and it doesnt get any better for me because no one can (or will) do anything more to fix my neck. I am on some very strong and expensive daily drugs to get me through the days at work. I don't like how they make me feel but I don't know what else to do. Maybe you can find some better doctors than me.
    Tracie C
  • Hello all
    I can of course relate to this condition and not much has changed since I started this thread.  I currently take a blend of meds to get through my day.  In two weeks I will have two level acdf in hopes of some relief.  As headaches are only one aspect of my neck symptoms I am hoping this will help my overall condition.  I really don't know what to tell anyone here other than a neck with bulging discs and arthritis and stenosis somehow creates headaches.  Wish I had more to offer 
    Dmo
  • maehaleymaehaley PennsylvaniaPosts: 322
    Good luck with your procedure dmo! It is true that headaches are just one of the many symptoms caused by neck issues and there is no really good solution that I have found at least. Keep us posted.
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  • morgank47morgank47 Vista, CaliforniaPosts: 58
    Goodluck with your surgery dmo, I feel I may be following soon as well. Migraines seem to come on everyday as the day progresses relative to how aggrivated my neck muscles get. Pain / Stiffness / Burning spreads up neck over head and down into upper back / shoulders blades and almost feels back of throat. I was wondering if you had similar symptoms? Issues are way more prominent when seated and have to always hold head with hands, gravity seems to irritate. 
  • Hey morgan
    Yes I have basiclly the same symptoms as you.  Doesn't matter if I am standing or sitting.  Surgeon doesn't off much hope for headache relief after two level acdf.  I just feel I need to do something because of arm and neck pain also.  Good luck 
    dmo
  • morgank47morgank47 Vista, CaliforniaPosts: 58
    No arm pain, numbness in hands though. Had two epidurals, facet injections. I have Modic changes to c2 and c3 where my headache pain originates from, and a compression deformity of c6. Injections only provide temporary relief of approx 2-3 days where my neck feels looser. Is there anything I can do short of laying down to remedy this until surgery? I was thinking of buying a neck brace or something to keep my head propped.. Atleast at home
  • I have had about 15 cervical injections over last three years.  No long lasting relief. I take fioracet for headaches. I use ice bag and tens unit also.  Nothing keeps it at bay for long.  I will try acdf and pray that it helps.  You could try neck brace what is there to lose?   I think these type of headaches are a by product of our condition.  I have roughly a week til the knife.  Good luck
    dmo
  • Jill AnnJJill Ann Missoula MTPosts: 11
    I have had good news. The two lidocaine shot procedures have produced pain relief. Tuesday I go in for the radio frequency procedure which should kill the facet joint nerves. I am hopeful the procedure will be a success and last for a good amount of time as the procedure does not produce permanent results. I will keep you up on how it goes.
    Jill Dahl  :)
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