Cervicogenic Headache


What should you know about...Cervicogenic  Headache

This  pain syndrome  is frequently  misdiagnosed as migraine  or  atypical  migraine.  It  is usually seen after trauma  to the cervical spine,  such as whiplash or other hyper-extension  injuries. Pain starts at the base of the skull and radiates up the back of  the  head  to the  front  and  sometimes behind the eyes. Patients can experience nausea, sensitivity to light,  and  dizziness, which  is the reason why it is often misdiagnosed as migraine. An  irritated  C2-C3  facet  joint  is the  primary cause of this syndrome. The  joint becomes   irratated in neck trauma.

Treatment

Diagnostic Block
This  syndrome  can  be treated  by injecting  the C2 and C3 facet nerves on both sides with a very small amount  of local anesthetic.  This  is call a diagnostic block because it answers the question "Where is the pain coming from"?

Radiofrequency (RF) Lesioning
If  the  diagnostic  block  provides  24  or  more hours of relief, then the patient is a candidate for C2 and C3 percutaneous rhizotomy, via Radiofrequency lesioning (RF), which can be performed safely on an outpatient basis. This can provide long-term relief of this common, misdiagnosed pain syndrome. RF rhizotomies involve lesioning  the  nerves to  the  facet  joints using high energy directed  through  a small needle. This creates a very small destructive lesion of the  nerve. It is performed  by a Pain  Specialist who has been trained in this procedure. Cervicogenic headache can be relieved on a long­term basis with this technique..