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Chiropractic Research Review

Treating Cervicogenic Headache: Case Study

Cervicogenic headaches (CEHs) are associated with "movement disorders" of the cervical spine and ligaments. Chronic headache may appear in up to 40% of children before age 7 and 75% by age 15, but most of these headaches are considered tension-type or migraines.

Some cases of CEH may be misdiagnosed in children as another form of headache.

This case report follows an 8-year-old boy who presented with daily headaches of over three years duration and who met the diagnostic criteria for CEH. There had been no initial trauma to the region. Palpation in the upper cervical region and awkward head position generated pain, predominantly on the right side; abnormal tenderness and decreased neck range of motion were observed. The subject was administered HVLA spinal manipulation focusing on the right upper cervical area supplemented with ancillary myofascial release. He was also provided mild myofascial release to the thoracolumbar paraspinal muscles.

After a single treatment, headache frequency decreased. Following subsequent treatments, headache frequency continued to taper off. Two months after treatments (lasting two months), the patient reported headache frequency reduced to twice per month. Ibuprofen usage also dropped, from several days per week to two days per month.

The authors note that this may be the first case study published of spinal manipulation to treat CEH in a child. They add: "Since headache in general is a common complaint in children, chiropractic treatment of CEH in children may be an area warranting further investigation."

Lisi AJ, Dabrowski Y. Chiropractic spinal manipulation for cervicogenic headache in an 8-year-old. Journal of the Neuromusculoskeletal System 2002:10(3), pp. 98-103.
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Chiropractic Research Review

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