Headaches are an extremely common ailment that can be quite limiting. There are multiple different causes of headaches and several different types of headaches. There is a very specific type of headache that can be caused from the upper cervical spine (neck) that is frequently misdiagnosed as simply a tension headache or migraine headache. The treatments that would be pursued for a tension headache or migraine headache would not be effective for a headache that is generated from the upper cervical spine. Headaches that are due to the spine are typically secondary to underlying cervical facet syndrome, mainly involving the C2-3 and C3-4 facet joints. Irritation within these facet joints can cause upper neck pain, base of the skull pain and headaches that radiate over the head. Other common complaints can include eye pain, ear pain, jaw pain, and less frequently a sense of lightheadedness and vertigo. Treatment options for headaches related to cervical facet syndrome can include anti-inflammatory medications, specific rehabilitation efforts and injection therapy. This is a very treatable condition with an excellent prognosis.
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