Tag Archive: neck pain

Cervicogenic headache is a common type of head pain that occurs in approximately 2.5% of the U.S. population. Occipital (back of the head) headaches generally occur from problems in the neck, especially the upper part of the neck. The pain originates in the neck, but it can radiate up to the head and cause head pain- called cervicogenic headache.

The headache usually radiates from the neck to the occipital area (back of the head), to the temples, or around the eyes. It can be on one side of the head (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral). The pain is often described as dull, aching, and is aggravated with head/neck movement . Poor posture, looking up, or looking down for long periods of time can trigger or worsen the head pain. Some people who have desk jobs or look up or down for long periods of time can have cervicogenic headache. Generalized muscle tension can also result in headaches that radiate from the neck up to the head.

The pain of cervicogenic headache can be due to problems in the neck, such as cervical discs disease, facet joint degeneration (arthritis), ligaments that become less stretchy, or from muscular spasm. The pain can come from any area of the neck, but commonly originates from the upper ( C2-3, C3-4) joints or discs.  Pain can also occur from unstable areas in the upper two joints (atlanto-occipital and atlanto-axial joints), and is called “atlanto-axial instability”.

Common causes of Cervicogenic headache can include:

Degenerative changes: or age-related changes in the cervical discs or joints

Kyhposis -reversal of cervical curvature

Whiplash injury

Nerve compression– typically from a herniated cervical disc that puts pressure on a neck nerve

If you think you have cervicogenic headache or other neck problems, the providers at the Neurosurgery Center of Colorado may be able to help. Call today for an appointment for evaluation.


Neck Pain

Many people experience neck pain.  Some common causes of neck pain include arthritis of the neck joints, wearing out of the discs (cushions) between the bones (cervical degenerative disc disease) or narrowing of the joints where the nerves travel (cervical stenosis). In some cases, the disc can herniate (push out of the normal space) and result in neck and arm pain/numbness/tingling.

A herniated cervical disc can be caused from injury, lifting a heavy object, or sudden movement of the neck, but does not need to be caused by trauma. Many people cannot recall a specific injury. The herniated piece of the disc may then pinch or put pressure on a nerve, possibly causing one or more of the following symptoms:

Signs and symptoms of neck problems include (but not limited to):

  • Limited movement of the head or neck due to pain or stiffness.
  • Neck muscle tightness
  • Pain, tingling or numbness in the shoulder, arm or hand (usually worse on one side than the other)
  • Weakness in the shoulder, arm or hand
  • Clumsiness of the hand or difficulty with fine motor movements, such as buttoning buttons.

For evaluation of neck/arm pain/numbness or tingling, please contact the Neurosurgery Center of Colorado.