In the United States, more than 37 million people suffer from headaches. This ranks it among the top five most common ailments. The most common type of headache is a tension headache, which affects about 80% of the entire population at one point or another.


In addition to tension headaches, you may experience migraine headaches or cervicogenic headaches. These types of headaches affect different nerves and are characterized by different triggers and symptoms. If you experience chronic, intense headache pain, it could be caused by problems in your cervical spine.


At the Interventional Pain Clinic, we specialize in pain relieving options for debilitating headache pain. Find out what treatment options are right for you by calling the office or scheduling an appointment today.

Headaches are often caused by pain that is occurring in your cervical spine or neck region ad are called cervicogenic headaches. There are various conditions that can affect your cervical spine and trigger cervicogenic headache pain.


These conditions include: 

  • Injury: Any injury or trauma to the neck can cause a cervical headache. It may be caused by whiplash, such as from a car accident, or from repetitive stress injuries that occur over time.

  • Tension in the neck from poor posture can also cause a headache.

  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis of the neck is most common in people older than 50. It occurs when the cartilage wears away from the joints over time, causing inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues.

  • Tumors, cysts and other lesions in the neck may result in chronic headaches. 

  • Bulging disc: Bulging discs are common in people younger than 40 years old. In these cases, discs bulge out of place, causing irritation to the nerves that run through them. The irritation can lead to intense pain or numbness in one area of your body.

What are the symptoms of a cervical headache?

Some of the common symptoms of a cervical headache would likely be intense, throbbing pain that is usually off to one side of your head over another. Other symptoms may include: 

  • Blurry vision

  • Stiff neck

  • Pain in the eyes

  • Light sensitivity

  • Worsened pain with sudden movements (e.g. coughing or sneezing)

  • Nausea or vomiting due to intense pain

How do you diagnose and treat neck pain?

To be diagnosed with a cervicogenic headache, Dr. Ptacek or Dr. Doeden will ask you questions about the location and intensity of your pain. You may also be asked to describe any triggers, like moving quickly or coughing. Your doctor will perform a physical exam, looking for tender areas in your neck and head.


Treatment is largely focused on eliminating the trigger factors. Depending on the type and severity of the pain that you are experiencing, your doctor will likely recommend a combination of treatments specific to your specific condition, which focus on pain relief and reducing inflammation. This can include physical therapy or massage therapy or over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen sodium (Aleve). You may also use heat or cold treatments to relax tense muscles.

In some cases the head pain can be debilitating. In these cases, Dr. Ptacek or Dr. Doeden may suggest a couple of different treatment options to relieve this debilitating pain which include:

  • Nerve blocks which deliver anesthetic and a steroid which reduces inflammation in the injured part of the spine

  • Minimally invasive decompression procedure to relieve the pressure on your nerves that triggers headache pain

  • Spinal cord stimulation which includes a small implantable device which calms the nerves that are causing neck or head pain


 If you're experiencing headaches, call the Interventional Pain Clinic today to learn more about your treatment options. 

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