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Neck Pain Series - Part 2 : Cervicogenic Headache

Cervicogenic headache, as the name suggests, is headache caused by abnormalities of the joints, muscles and neural structures of the neck region. It is a very common disorder that we see in the clinic. However, it needs to be correctly distinguished from other common headache types, such as migraine and tension headache, for accurate management and treatment.

Some of the features of cervicogenic headaches are:

1) Constant, dull ache.

2) Often one sided but can be both.

3) Feeling ‘tight’ over the head.

4) Your headache may seem to radiate from the back to the front of your head.

5) Gradual onset and last for days and weeks once it’s on.

6) Your headache is provoked or eased by a neck movement.

7) Poor posture - rounded shoulders extended neck and poked neck?

8) Stress.

9) Your headache appears to temporarily ease up when you apply pressure or massage your neck or the base of your skull. 10) ‘Whiplash’ from a motor vehicle accident.

It is challenging to diagnose based on symptoms alone but if you tick a few of these boxes you are most likely suffering from cervicogenic headaches or neck headaches. However, please note even if your neck isn’t sore or painful, you can still experience neck headaches.

Your physiotherapist is the best person to determine if it is indeed a cervicogenic headache. He/She will carry out a systematic examination of the joints, muscles and neural structures of the neck and posture and identify the CAUSE for an accurate and effective treatment. So reach out to one of our caring and friendly Chatswood or North Sydney Infinite Health Team physiotherapist to start getting help!

Upcoming series is a ‘whiplash associated disorders’. Stay tuned!⠀

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