Cervicogenic Headaches

I see lots of headaches in my Woodbridge, Dale City VA Chiropractic office.  They include migraines, tension headaches and cervicogenic headaches.  One of the most common ones I see are cervicogenic headaches.  This is that headache that starts at the back top of your neck and radiates into the back of your head.  It sometimes makes it to the temples.  This type of headache generally doesn’t respond to the common migraine medications.  Patients generally notice relief from OTC pain medication but once it wears off the headache comes back.  Here is some information on cervicogenic headaches and be sure to consult a chiropractor for them.

Cervicogenic headache is referred pain (pain perceived as occurring in a part of the body other than its true source) perceived in the head from a source in the neck. Cervicogenic headache is a secondary headache, which means that it is caused by another illness or physical issue. In the case of cervicogenic headache, the cause is a disorder of the cervical spine and its component bony, disc and/or soft tissue elements. Numerous pain sensitive structures exist in the cervical (upper neck) and occipital (back of head) regions. The junction of the skull and cervical vertebrae have regions that are pain generating, including the lining of the cervical spine, the joints, ligaments, cervical nerve roots, and vertebral arteries passing through the cervical vertebral bodies.

The term cervicogenic headache is commonly misued and does not simply apply to a headache associated with neck pain; many headache disorders, including migraine and tension-type headache, can have associated neck pain/tension. Rather there must be evidence of a disorder or lesion within the cervical spine or soft tissues of the neck, known to be able to cause headache. Such disorders include tumours, fractures, infections and rheumatoid arthritis of the upper cervical spine. There is debate as to whether cervical spondylosis (age-related wear and tear affecting the spinal disks in your neck) can cause cervicogenic headache.

People with cervicogenic headache often have reduced range of motion of their neck and worsening of their headache with certain movements of their neck or pressure applied to certain spots on their neck. The headaches are often side-locked (on one side only) and the pain may radiate from their neck/back of the head up and to the front of the head or behind the eye. The headache may or may not be associated with neck pain.

People suspected of having cervicogenic headache should be carefully assessed by their doctor to exclude other primary (migraine, tension-type) or secondary (vessel dissection, posterior fossa lesions) causes of headaches.

Nerve blocks are used both for diagnostic and treatment purposes. If numbing the cervical structures abolishes the headache that can confirm the diagnosis of cervicogenic headache and also provide relief from the pain.

Treatment for cervicogenic headache should target the cause of the pain in the neck, and varies depending upon what works best for the individual patient. A very successful type of treatment is chiropractic care. A chiropractor can properly diagnose and treat this type of headache.





Doroski Chiropractic Neurology

3122 Golansky Blvd, Ste 102

Woodbridge VA 22192

703 730 9588

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