Cervicogenic headache … what the heck is that?

by Jun 24, 2024


Cervicogenic headache … what the heck is that? Unfortunately, many people suffer with headaches.  Often those headaches can be debilitating.  In 2021a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 40% of the global population, or 3.1 billion people suffer regularly with headaches.  While there are many different types of headaches, not many people know about cervicogenic headaches.


What is a Cervicogenic Headache:


A cervicogenic headache  is a type of secondary headache that originates from tissues in the cervical spine (the neck region) and its related structures. Unlike primary headaches such as migraines or tension headaches, cervicogenic headaches are caused by underlying neck problems. These may include disorders of the cervical vertebrae, intervertebral discs, muscles, or nerves.


Cervicogenic Headache start with neck pain


Characteristics of Cervicogenic Headaches:


  • Pain Location: Typically starts at the top of the neck or back of the head and radiates to the front.  While not always, they appear more often on one side.
  • Trigger Points: Pain can be triggered or worsened by neck movements or sustained neck positions.  This can include sitting at a desk all day, looking at our phones or gaming.
  • Associated Symptoms: Other signs may include restricted neck movement, jaw pain, tension across the shoulders, and shoulder pain.


Causes of Cervicogenic Headaches:


  • Cervical Spine Disorders: Such as spinal misalignments or joint dysfunction. If the neck is out of alignment it can cause both neck pain and headaches.
  • Herniated discs or degenerative disc disease.
  • Arthritis:  With aches and muscle stiffness there can also be underlying joint dysfunction.  As a result we get more neck pain that may lead to cervicogenic headaches.
  • Neck Injuries: Including whiplash or other trauma.
  • Postural Issues: Poor posture can lead to muscle strain and tension in the neck.


Treatment of Cervicogenic Headaches:


Effective treatment often involves addressing the root cause of the neck issue. A randomized clinical control trail demonstrated that Chiropractic care can be particularly beneficial in managing cervicogenic headaches through:


  1. Spinal Adjustments: Correcting misalignments in the cervical spine.
  2. Posture Correction: Improving posture to alleviate neck strain.
  3. Muscle Therapy: Relaxing and stretching tight neck muscles.


Chiropractic adjustment for headache



By understanding and treating the underlying cervical spine issues, individuals can achieve significant relief from cervicogenic headaches. If you are having headaches in North Phoenix and this presentation sounds familiar, Desert Valley Chiropractic would like to help.




Dr. Katherine

Dr. David Iacuone

Dr. Dave is a graduate of Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, MO. As a student clinician he became heavily involved with the technique attending many seminars including the annual instructors seminar. He has been a clinical instructor for Activator Methods international seminars. Dr. Dave has practiced in Texas City, TX where he focused on personal injury cases and in Phoenix, AZ where he has practiced in private practice at the Activator Health Center as well as at the Phoenix V.A.

To make an appointment call us at 602-439-1515 or reach out through the contact submission on our website at Desert Valley Chiropractic.

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