Sometimes a headache is not just a headache, but a real “pain in the neck!” In fact, misconceptions about the origin of head pain often lead to misdiagnosis and a prolongation of symptoms. Cervicogenic headache, for example, is a syndrome that originates from inflammation and/or head and neck injuries. Migraine is a neurological disorder from vascular and muscular origins. Both disorders have parallel symptoms such as: intense headaches, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and reduction of head mobility. But migraines and cervicogenic headaches differ in source, the primary location of pain expression, and in treatment. Therefore, improper treatment of migraine and cervicogenic headache may prolong the duration of symptoms from minutes to hours, and in some cases, days.
Grabbing an Aspirin or Tylenol might not be enough. Migraine is common amongst an estimated 33 million Americans. So knowing vital signs that differentiate your headache will make the difference in your care. Migraines are characterized as repeated attacks and intense throbbing. Usually only one side of the head is affected. A variety of environmental and/or genetic factors such as stress, hormonal changes, and family history are common triggers. In some instances migraines are preceded by auras (sensory stimulations) which include tingling in the arms and/or legs, flashes of light, and/or blind spots.
While neck pain can sometimes be a manifestation of migraine, neck or spine irritation is the typical cause of cervicogenic headaches. However, injury and trauma are not the only cause. Symptoms are often triggered by neck movement or sustained, awkward head positioning. Even a sneeze can precipitate symptoms. Cervicogenic headaches are intense, non-throbbing, and constant. Pain typically migrates from the cervical spine and is further expressed at the back and base of the skull. In rare cases, pain extends between the shoulder blades and between the eyebrows and forehead.
Distinction can be as complex as the treatment, which is why it is important to seek medical attention. Here at MidSouth Pain Treatment Center we not only seek to manage the pain, but to recover the collateral damages such as missed work, stress, loss of sleep, and reduced physical activity. Step by step, our staff ensures patients leave MidSouth Pain Treatment Center with one less pain to deal with.
– Tiara Baker