Cervicogenic Headaches

Posted Tuesday, May 04, 2010 by Ed Harper

Many of my clients suffer from headaches following a rear-end crash. They often ask their physicians or health care providers, “Why am I getting a headache after a collision?” or “I’ve never had headaches before the crash, why now?”

Often neck injuries can be the source of a debilitating headache. If you have been told your neck injury is the source of your headaches, you likely have a “cervicogenic” headache. Cervico means – pertaining to the neck. Genic means – of or is related to or cause of.

The top 2 or 3 levels of the cervical spine to the base of the skull primarily carry out 50% of the movement of the head/skull. Thus, these levels must withstand continuous wear and tear, and also bear the primary load of the weight of the head.

At a recent seminar, noted medical doctor from the UW Headache Clinic mentioned the following: The primary pain sources from the neck at the first three spinal nerves:
C1 spinal nerve (suboccipital nerve) innervates the atlanto-occipital joint.
C2 spinal nerve runs close to the atlantoaxial (C1-2) zygapophyseal joint and innervates the atlantoaxial and C2-3 zygapophyseal joints.
Dorsal Ramus of C3 innervates the C2-3 zygapophyseal joint. This joint and nerve appear most vulnerable to “whiplash”, per Dr. Murinova, Neurologist.

There are many factors to consider in addressing whether the headaches are a direct result of a motor vehicle crash. However, as mentioned above, the genesis of a headache may indeed be caused by the proverbial “pain in the neck “.

If you have any questions regarding your bodily injuries following a collision or fall, contact Harper Law. 425 284 3333

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