Stemcelldoc's Weblog

February 3, 2011

Headaches Arising from Atlanto Occipital Joint

At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic we acknowledge that headaches can arise from many different sources including dysfunctional muscles, tears in the ligaments, misalignment of the vertebral bodies, injury to cervical facets and degenerative discs. 

The C0-C1 joint can cause significant headache and upper neck pain and should always be considered in the evaluation of the headaches not responsive to traditional therapy.  I have previouly discussed  the successful treatment of C0-C1 headache pain.

The C1-C0 joint, also referred to as the Atlanto-Occipital Joint(OA) is the first joint in the neck.  The base of the skull is the occiput.  The first bone in the neck is the atlas.  The joint bewtteen the two structures is susceptible to traumatic injury and degeneration.

The pain arising from the OA joint typically refers to the base of the skull as decpited.

Treatment options include prolotherapy, low doses of steroids and autologous mesenchymal stem therapy utilizing Regenexx SD.

Diagnosis is made by injecting a small amount of local anestheti into the joint under x-ray.  The neck is rich in nervies, veins and arteries which make injection into this area difficult and a potential source of complications.  Injection of dye (contrast) is essential to confirm accurate placement of the needle.  An image of contrast in the  C0-C1 joint is posted below.

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