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What is a Cervicogenic Headache?

  • 1 min read

What is a Cervicogenic Headache?

There is no doubt that headaches are amongst the most complicated conditions to treat. In fact, there are plenty of textbooks discussing the classification types of headaches, signs and symptoms and treatment options.

Cervicogenic headaches (CGH) are a type of headache that originates in or is significantly affected by neck movement, trauma or injury. CGH is commonly misdefined as tension headaches which are typically driven more by the nervous system.

CGH is typically isolated to one side the head and is usually consistent to that side and associated with neck pain. Headache pain is affected by neck movement, or stress with work or sport.

Symptoms can often be re-created, increased or decreased by pushing on the muscles or joints of the neck. The headache itself often starts in the neck and seemingly travels upward to rest at a centralized area of discomfort.

The length of the headache varies and it depends on factors such as stress, work, sports, exercise and rest. Usually, there is a history of neck injury, pain or prior experience with a headache or car accident. Many people suffering from CGH will have had an episode of neck pain within 1 year prior to a headache.

This headache type does very well with manual therapy, exercise, and patient education. Unlike other headache subtypes relief can be almost immediate when the right plan is implemented.

Does this sound like a headache you could be suffering from?

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Souce: Fredriksen et al. (2015) Cervicogenic headache: too important to be left un-diagnosed. J Headache Pain, 15, 6. doi: 10.1186/1129-2377-16-6