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HeadWay, Issue #151 -- Answering Your Questions, An Exciting Annoucement
March 21, 2017

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In this issue:

Answering Your Questions: Cervicogenic headache and Candesartan

Migraine World Summit 2017

Say what?! Cervical Spine

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Answering Your Questions: Cervicogenic headache and Candesartan

Can you believe it? I actually mislabelled the last edition of HeadWay. I sent it out as #149, but it was actually #150 - a milestone! Thanks to all of you who have been with us for all or part of that time. And thanks to those of you who have written in to let me know that they've found answers - and their pain has greatly diminished or even disappeared!


First, I'd like to thank KathGriffin from the UK who wrote with encouraging news that her symptoms have drastically dropped over the past few months. In her case, candesartan, typically a drug prescribed for hypertension, has been a tremendous help. She writes: In sharing this I just want to say to others don't give up hope. Sometimes simple treatments can work.

I wrote more about candesartan as a migraine treatment at Headache and Migraine News here: Candesartan for Migraine

Cervicogenic Headache vs Migraine

Gail from the United States wrote recently asking about cervicogenic headache and migraine, so let's take a look.

Cervicogenic headache is actually a tricky one to diagnose, because there is actually a lot of overlap with tension-type headache. To add to the challenge, research now seems to suggest that tension-type headache and migraine may have common roots. So there are a lot of potential links between these three basic types of headache.

Cervicogenic headache seems to come from cervical sources - "cervical" referring to the cervical spine - the upper part of your spine - or, your neck. In order to be diagnosed with cervicogenic headache, there needs to be evidence of an actual disorder or lesion in the cervical spine or neck soft tissue. This would be a headache which develops along with the disorder, and is alleviated with treatment of the cervical disorder.

So is it possible that your headaches are actually "cervicogenic headaches"? As I've mentioned, sometimes it's hard to tell. Neck pain, for example, is common in migraine and tension-type headache (a majority of patients experience neck pain or stiffness with a migraine attack). Also, other types of headache can show themselves alongside cervicogenic headache.

Some clues - with cervicogenic headache, the pain is typically always on the same side of the head. Pressure on neck muscles (on the side of the headache) and head movement will often make the headache worse. It may be hard to move your head normally. And the pain will often radiate from the back to the front of your head. There may also be pain on that side of your neck, shoulder, and even arm. The pain may last for days.

Cervicogenic headache is quite rare compared to the other two types of headache we've mentioned, affecting only one or two people in a hundred. But of course if you're suffering from moderate or severe headaches, you're chances are much higher. But if you are not aware of a specific cause of the headache (such as whiplash in a car accident), your chances are lower.

Your doctor will want a full medical history from you, an examination, and possibly some imaging such as an MRI in order to diagnose you.

There are a number of treatments for cervicogenic headache, including biofeedback, physical therapy, nerve stimulation or blocking, medications, and in extreme cases, surgery.

If you suspect cervicogenic headache, it's certainly worth talking to a specialist. Many people have gone through a lot ineffective treatment, only to find out that they have an underlying problem with their neck and spine.

For more information, see:

Migraine World Summit 2017

Last year's Migraine World Summit was a tremendous success! I had the privilege of being both a speaker and a learner last year. The information from experts around the world was cutting edge and extremely practical.

This year is going to be even better! The production quality is going to be raised significantly, and there will be even more great speakers (36 in all) from the forefront of migraine research and treatment.

I spoke with Carl Cincinnato, the host of the Migraine World Summit, back in February. He has an ambitious vision for the summit and its future. Not only is this a way to get the best information to migraine patients and their doctors, he also hopes it will become a movement - to get the attention of universities and governments around the world, as well as individuals. That will get the best minds and the real money into the needed research.

And I think it can happen!

You can be involved in the online event for free between the 23rd and 29th of April. I'll be emailing you again with more details, but in the mean time be sure to reserve your free tickets for the Migraine World Summit here. After you sign up, you'll get to see a free video with highlights from last year (yes - I'm in it!).

You can watch free online - but if you live near Boston, USA, you may be able to attend in person on the 29th! Details to follow.

Be a part of the movement - it's time to fight back!

Say what?! Cervical Spine

What exactly is the "cervical spine", and how is it different from your "normal" spine? Well, it's not different at all - cervical refers to a part of your spine. Scientists have discovered that various parts of your spine serve various parts of your body. So the spine is split into 5 regions from top to bottom, with numbers representing the different nerves. C1-C7 represent the first 7 parts of the spine - in the neck - which are together the cervical region.

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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