A medical condition that involves partial displacement of a bone in the neck and as a result, gives rise to headaches, especially those classified under muscle tension headaches, is known as Cervicogenic Headache.

In most cases, it is really hard for sufferers to distinguish such headaches from migraine. It is so because some people with this headache can be a little sensitive to light and sound, and also suffer from nausea and vomiting along with acute pain, like migraine. Often, there is some overlap between the symptoms of Cervicogenic Headache and migraine. Sufferers of migraine often describe neck pain as a migraine trigger. In such cases, migraine-specific medicines might be used for curing headaches that seem to arise from a problem in the neck.

As you may know that headache itself is not truly a condition, but a symptom. Due to this reason, there are no specific orthopedic or neurological physical tests for headache. Although diagnostic modalities do exist for many conditions that cause headache, but the number of conditions is so great it would not be practical to perform the variety of procedures necessary for differential diagnosis. Only a good case history has proven to be the best method of diagnosis for most headaches.

Cervicogenic Headache ICD 9 Code

Continue reading, if you are looking for ICD 9 code for Cervicogenic headache and other relevant information about it.

ICD 9 Code for Cervicogenic Headache

The ICD 9 Code for Cervicogenic Headache is 307.81. The ICD-9-CM system contains a wide range of codes for headaches. The codes range from unspecific, listing headache as a symptom like cephalgia 784.0 to very specific, listing the etiology or condition causing the headache.

The unspecific nature is considered as a drawback of the ICD-9-CM system but it may actually be an advantage when it comes to the diagnosis of head pain, as headaches can be difficult to diagnose.
 In order to explain, take ICD 9 code 784.0.This code is considered as a general code for headaches. 

It represents general head pain, general vascular head pain or facial pain. Some doctors choose to use this code routinely for most mild to moderate headaches and unspecific migraine code 346.9 for more severe headaches.Accuracy is vital while coding tension headaches, as there are two types.

 Many use the code 307.8. This is the code for tension headaches listed under mental disorders in the ICD-9-CM system, specifically "Pain disorders related to psychological factors." The correct codes for tension headaches that fall within the chiropractic scope of practice are 339.1 through 339.12. This group of codes is listed under "Nervous system and sense organ disorders" in the ICD-9-CM system.

 Symptoms of Cervicogenic Headache

Following are some most common symptoms of Cervicogenic Headache. Thes include:
  • Discomfort within the cervical backbone, neck and upper shoulders.
  • One-sided pain in the head.
  • Pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulder.
  • Headache can occur on the same side of the arm and shoulder where pain originates.
  • Pain in the neck or back of the head that shifts forward to the temples or the forehead.
  • Pain may differ in intensity from person to person. Pain can be dull or piercing.

Causes of Cervicogenic Headache

Cervicogenic headache is typically a result of compression of or injury to the occipital nerves. Additionally, there are a number of factors which can cause this nervous problem. These include:
  • Excessive stiffness of neck muscles
  • Trauma to the head
  • Inflammation resulting from an infection
  • Osteoarthritis of the spine
  • Compression of the nerves by a tumor
  • Disorders, such as Vasculitis or Diabetes
  • Frequent activities that involve downward positioning of the head, such as while reading a book

Treatment  of Cervicogenic Headache

There is no  exact way of treating this problem. Medical researchers are still trying to find the best curative approach for this condition. Treatment should ideally focus on the neck. Following is the list of treatments which are most commonly used now a days:

  • Exercise and physiotherapy is the most common treatment. These help strengthen the deep muscles that help stabilize the spine.
  • Medications are also used for curing this problem. Anti-convulsants or anti-depressants are most popular in this regard. These drugs change the response of nerve fibers in such a way that patients do not experience pain with accumulative use.
  • Manipulative therapies such as chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy and spinal manipulation are believed to be the most effective therapeutic treatments for the condition. Neck exercises, conducted under an expert, can also bring relief to the region and cure headaches with time.
  • There are many types of injections available for Cervicogenic headache cure. Most common are local anaesthetics, Botulinum toxin (Botox) and steroids which are injected into different structures in the neck. Anesthetic injections can help temporarily alleviate pain from the neck.
  • In some cases, muscle relaxants have been found effective as they provide patients with relief from pain caused by the condition.
  • In extreme cases, spinal surgery may be performed to cure this problem. Surgery helps relieve compression of the cervical spine. In some cases, however, there can be a recurrence of pain after surgery.

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