Cervicogenic Headaches

Let’s take a look at cervicogenic headaches.

Pain patterns for different types of common headache

Cervicogenic headaches are headaches caused by structures in the neck, typically the muscles and the facet joints of the spine; they have a habit of developing chronicity. Given the strong link between stress, the muscles of the neck, and headaches; many tension headaches are simultaneously cervicogenic. There is even a cervicogenic link with migraines; with approximately 40% of migraine sufferers having neck pain as a trigger for their migraines; and 80% listing stress; there is also a strong overlap between cervicogenic, tension and migraine types of headache; with misdiagnosis between all 3. The incidence rate for cervicogenic headaches is estimated around 15%-20%, but is almost certainly higher due to misdiagnosis.

Areas of head pain referral from structures in the neck

Presentation of cervicogenic headaches can vary wildly, depending on what structure in the neck is causing the pain. The most common presentation is probably a tight, squeezing type of pain in at the base of the skull and in the forehead. Onset is often gradual, and related to a provocative activity, such as slumping in front of a computer; using a tablet or mobile; or stressful driving conditions; with headache often coming on soon after, or the following morning.


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