What is Cervicogenic Headache?
Cervicogenic headache is defined as a headache originating from the neck, and often radiating to the temporal or frontal regions of the head. The symptoms are often localized to one side of the head, but may be bilateral, and often the pain worsens over time.
What Causes Cervicogenic Headache?
There are various causes; however, two important ones to consider are injury to the cervical spine and compression of the occipital nerves (the peripheral nerves that run up the back of the head and provide sensation to this area). Often there is a history of head and/or neck trauma that precedes the onset of the cervicogenic headaches.
What are the Treatment Options for Cervicogenic Headache?
Treatment options include the various medications used for other types of headaches such as those prescribed for migraines. Interventional therapies include nerve blocks and surgical treatment. Before surgical treatment can be offered it is necessary to distinguish whether the problem originates in the spinal cord or as a result of occipital nerve compression. An MRI of the cervical spine, if normal, can aid in directing the focus of the problem to the occipital nerves, and determine the best surgical approach.
What is Nerve Decompression Surgery for Cervicogenic Headache?
Nerve decompression surgery can be very effective in reducing or eliminating symptoms of cervicogenic headache. The procedure releases all potential sites of compression along the occipital nerves. These include areas where inflamed muscles, adherent blood vessels, or thick scar tissue may encumber the nerve, preventing normal function. The goal of the surgery is to eliminate headaches by alleviating occipital nerve compression while preserving or restoring normal function of the nerves. Sometimes other small nerves of lesser importance are clipped in order to maximize the chances of success.
What Level of Experience do the Surgeons have in Performing Nerve Decompression Surgery?
Dr. Matthew Kaufman of The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction is a Peripheral Nerve Surgeon who is double board-certified in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. He has a tremendous amount of experience and success in performing nerve decompression surgery for cervicogenic headache and other types of headache conditions. He has been performing nerve decompression surgery for headaches since 2007.
Our team of surgical specialists and staff welcomes your inquiry regarding treatment options for cervicogenic headache or other debilitating headache conditions.