Tension and Cervicogenic Headaches:
October 01, 2002
ABSTRACT: A thorough history and physical examination can establish the diagnosis of tension headache; further evaluation is generally unnecessary. In contrast, the workup of cervicogenic headache includes standard radiographs, 3-dimensional CT, MRI, and possibly electromyography; nerve blocks may also be used to confirm the diagnosis. Episodic tension headache can be treated effectively by trigger avoidance, behavioral modalities, and structured use of analgesics. Reserve opioids for patients with intractable headaches. Chronic tension headache is treated primarily by prophylactic measures, such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants, and behavioral and physical therapy. Treatment options for cervicogenic headache include analgesics; invasive procedures, such as trigger point injections, greater or lesser occipital nerve blocks, facet joint blocks, segmental nerve root blocks, and diskography; spinal manipulation; and behavioral approaches.