There are a variety of reasons cervicogenic headaches arise. They can begin shortly after some traumatic event such as a fall or following a whiplash injury like a car accident. However, more commonly these headaches develop over time from repetitive neck movements, prolonged poor posture, decreased cervical muscle strength, or osteoarthritis. The workplace is a major contributor, especially with jobs that require sitting at a desk or computer, frequent heavy lifting, or repetitive head movements.
Two important things to address, among others, is posture and deep neck flexor strength. Posture is important because it truly is the way we position ourselves all day, every day. It’s something that is acquired over time and becomes a habit. If the shoulders are constantly rounded forward, the chin is jutting out in front of the body, and the back is hunched over this issue will continue to creep up unless the posture is corrected.
The deep neck flexors are important for a few different reasons. As the name suggests, these muscles are located deep in the neck and play a key role in flexing the head and neck. More than that, they help maintain neck stability and good posture. It’s been shown that these muscles become weak and underused in people with chronic neck pain! Retraining these muscles and postural habits is a great step towards resolving neck pain and the headaches that come with it!