What is Cervicogenic Headache


There are many source and cause of headaches. Usually, headaches are caused by emotional tension, chronic migraine disorders, poor posture, stress and late night out. It is a significant problem in the field of health and medicine. Headache is divided into two definite categories which are a primary and secondary headache.

A primary headache is a headache that causes disability and significant pain; they are not life-threatening, and they are not associated with any pathology. Example of these headaches is cluster headache and migraine.

Secondary headaches result from either underlying conduction like neck injuries, and infection or condition that triggers pain nerves in the head or high blood pressure example is a cervicogenic headache.

What is cervicogenic headache?

It is a secondary headache where pain develops in the neck, but the victim feels pain in their head. Pain originates from the neck, then it radiates to the back head and finally to the front of the head, base of the skull, and even the face. It is characterized by one-sided pain in the head and neck. This headache is estimated to affect 14- 18% of the population.

Common symptoms.

  • Typically people with this kind of disorder experience a headache that goes hand in hand with neck stiffness and neck pain.
  • Loss in the range of motion of the neck.
  • One side pain that starts from the back of the head, neck, and temporal regions.
  • Stiffness in the neck due to muscle tightness.
  • Head pain that is activated by particular position and neck movements.
  • Sensitivity to light that causes blurred vision.
  • Pain in the upper cervical spine.


A structural problem causes headaches in the neck. This problem affects the cervical vertebrae, which is at the top of the spine, precisely the c2-3 vertebra.

In some people, it develops as a result of hard labour that involves straining neck muscle.

It can also develop after an injury in the neck.

Some medical conditions like arthritis on the upper spine, fractures, tumours, and infection can cause this type of headache.


Treatment focuses mainly in identify and removing the cause of the pain.

Several interventions can be applied which include,

Manual therapy.

A manual physical therapist will study the movement of cervical dysfunctions and apply techniques that involve manipulation and mobilization of cervical joint and muscle around the neck. This technique helps restore the standard mechanism of the channel and help reduce headaches.

Soft tissue massage.

Soft tissue massage and stretching have helped manage this type of headache. These massages bring relaxation through stretching muscles that are tight because of chronic postural loading and injury.

Dry needling. Or intramuscular stimulation (IMS).

Intramuscular stimulation is a technique used by the physiotherapist who has a certificate in IMs. It involves inserting a needle in the affected muscle to stimulate the tight muscles’ relaxation, causing the headache.

Posture Corrective exercise.

The corrective program can effectively help to alleviate headaches caused by neck dysfunction.

Treatment should target the cause of the pain in the neck.