Cervicogenic Headache Treatments explained by Zinovy Meyler D.O, Princeton Spine & Joint Center:
Once the diagnosis is confirmed the next step is formulating the treatment. In formulating the treatment it is very important to remember that cervicogenic headaches are not one entity. It’s a syndrome. And as such it is comprised of multiple different factors. So when we’re treating this, it’s important to remember that we need to address all the aspects of what led up to the situation as well as what’s feeding the situation currently. That includes posture, habits, that includes addressing the musculoskeletal component of the pain. In other words, the muscles and the connective tissue. And the way that’s done is I will prescribe physical therapy and the exercises that are going to be done with a therapist as well as there’s going to be a prescribed home exercise program that the patient will continue on at home. It’s also important to include manual manipulations that studies have shown provide a very significant component of the treatment. That can be done by the physical therapist. Also it is done by chiropractors and osteopathic physicians.
At times, of course, we also need to do the block that I discussed. And that is done with diagnostic and therapeutic goals in mind. The idea here is that there is ongoing inflammation and sometimes when a patient starts physical therapy, they’re struggling. They’re making very small steps and sometimes they’re just blocked. And that barrier is the inflammation itself and the irritation of the nerve that we’re trying to overcome. So to help this along and to confirm the diagnosis, that block is utilized. When that block is done, it serves as sort of a fire extinguisher to the fire. It reduces the inflammation that is blocking the progress and also creating the pain. So once that block is reduced, it is much easier to progress with the therapy, be it at home or with a physical therapist as well as with manipulations, chiropractic or otherwise. So, when all of these things are put together, when the treatment is properly assigned and is followed, then the outcome does tend to be pretty successful.