If you suffer from headaches, you are not alone. Almost everyone has an occasional headache. Migraine headaches occur in 1 in 7 adults. Frequent headaches, defined as a headache 3 times a week or more, occurs in 5% of the population. While headaches are generally managed by neurologists, some headaches are not responsive to conventional medication treatments. If conventional treatments are not controlling your headaches, the doctors at Unique Pain Medicine offer cutting edge treatments that actually work!
In younger professionals, headaches frequently occur secondary to inflammation of the cervical spine. This is called Cervicogenic headache. If conventional migraine treatments are not working, an upper cervical facet injection can help diagnose and treat the source of the headaches. If a facet injection breaks the pain cycle, the cause of the migraine is likely cervicogenic. A correct diagnosis will lead to a successful treatment plan, resulting in resolution of headaches and improved quality of life.
Cervicogenic Headaches (CGH)
Cervicogenic headaches (CGH) are headaches that originated from a cervical (neck) pathology. CGH represents a challenging condition to treat. This is because the headache results from pain that originates in the cervical spine. CGH is frequently accompanied by a reduced range of motion in the neck and neck pain or stiffness. It is often confused for a migraine or a tension headache.
CGH is usually a unilateral (one-sided) headache which initially starts from the back of the head and neck. Pain can be felt in the back or front of the head. Headaches tend to be frequent, and can be associated with nausea and vomiting. In some patients, the headache can be bilateral (both sides) and is exacerbated by specific neck positions and activities such as typing or hairdressing. Sustained postures or specific neck movements can initiate the headache. Stress, anxiety, depression, and lack of sleep will increase the frequency and severity of symptoms.
Treatment for cervicogenic headaches include:
- Cervical medial branch block – This will abolish the headache if the cause is cervicogenic. The procedure is diagnostic and therapeutic.
- Cervical Radiofrequency ablation – This will provide sustained relief and decreased intensity of the headache for up to 2 years.
- Physical Therapy
- Prescription Medication
- Sphenopalatine Gangion Block (SPG Block) – Injection of local anesthetic around the sphenopalatine ganglion. This will abort most headaches relatively quickly.
Commonly Asked Question About Injections for Headaches
Where do they inject for headaches?
It depends on the individual’s type and source of headache. An accurate diagnosis is essential. If the headache comes from the cervical spine, the source of the headache is blocked by injecting the cervical facet joints.
Do injections for headaches hurt?
Generally injections are minimally uncomfortable and well tolerated. If you have a fear of needles, we do offer IV sedation to maximize your comfort. We will discuss this option with you during your visit.
How do injections for headaches work?
There are different types of injections for different types of headaches. The goal of injections is to interrupt the pain pathway and to decrease inflammation, which allows nerves to heal.
Are there any side effects from injections for headaches?
Side-effects are generally minor and easy to manage. They include mild tenderness at the injection site, and slight dizziness for a short time after the injection.
Can cervicogenic headaches be cured?
While we do not “cure” cervicogenic headaches, we do provide patients with long lasting pain relief, which can last up to 2 years. These treatments with other lifestyle modification gives the patient the best chance at living a headache-free life.
How do you get rid of a cervicogenic headache?
We identify the cervical facet joints responsible for the headache and inject them with medications that interrupt the pain pathway. This stops the pain cycle and allows healing to begin.
What causes cervicogenic headache?
Cervicogenic headache is caused by nerves that are located in the upper cervical spine, also known as facet joints. When these joints become inflamed they activate nerves which project into the head region, causing headaches.
How much do injections for headaches cost?
Most injections are fully covered by insurance. If there is no insurance coverage the cost will depend on the patient’s condition and the complexity of treatment offered. If there is any cost to the patient, it will be discussed prior to your treatment.
Are Headache Treatments Covered by Insurance?
Yes, the evaluation and headache treatments are covered by all health insurance plans.
If you are suffering from chronic or acute headaches, please contact us at 929-363-0303 or book your appointment online and let’s talk about a pain management treatment plan that is right for you.
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We Accept Most Insurances:
- 1199 SEIU Funds
- BlueCross BlueShield
- New York State: The Empire Plan
- Consolidated Health Plans
- Fidelis Care
- HIP – Emblem Health
- Meritain Health
- MetroPlus Health Plan
- Oxford Health Plans
- United Healthcare