Cervicogenic headache

Headaches are common, and almost everyone suffers from them at some time or another. For some, this lasts very briefly, and some people have headaches almost all the time. Not every headache is the same, as there are many different types of headaches. Although headaches can be very annoying, their cause is rarely serious. In this blog, we will elaborate on cervicogenic headaches.

What is a cervicogenic headache?

A cervicogenic headache is a form of what we call a secondary headache. We talk more about primary and secondary headaches in one of our other blogs. A cervicogenic headache is a form of headache caused by a problem in one of the structures of the neck. Consider, for example, the various joints in the neck and/or the muscles in the neck and shoulder region. It occurs in about 0.17-4% of people.

Cervicogenic headache is characterized in that it is often on one side of the head and is motion- and posture-dependent on the neck. There is often restriction in the neck and shoulder or arm pain may occur on the same side of the headache. The pain intensity is moderate and usually not throbbing. The pain location is usually from the back of the head to the front of the head. It is important that there is a history of trauma, such as a car accident or a fall on the head in the past.

What is the cause of cervicogenic headaches?

When structures in the neck and/or shoulder region cause headaches, we speak of referred pain. This is, in short, pain that is felt in a different location than where the actual pain stimulus is coming from. As mentioned earlier, structures around the neck and shoulders play a role in causing cervicogenic headaches. As mentioned earlier, in practice we often see that there is a problem in the joints of the neck, often we find that in this case, it is then in one of the facet joints of the neck. We then often find that there is movement restriction in one of these joints. In some cases, we also find trigger points in one of the shoulder muscles, especially the trapezius muscle.

Treatment of cervicogenic headache?

The treatment of cervicogenic headaches focuses mainly on solving the underlying problems, that is, treating the affected structures. To treat blockages in the facet joints and trigger points in any of the neck or shoulder muscles, we can use various interventions.

Therefore, for targeted and effective treatment, make an appointment at Orthomedix. We will then work with you to find the cause of the problem and create a personalized treatment plan.

Please feel free to contact us via the contact form or call one of our practices.


ICHD-3, 2018; ihs-headache.org; Sjaastad, 2008; Antonaci, 2011; Arendt-Nielsen, 2016

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