Are Your Headaches Cervicogenic?

February 13, 2014 in STSMPT

By definition, a cervicogenic headache is one which is caused by a disorder within the cervical spine or soft tissue of the neck. (1) This is a prevalent type of headache with several risk factors that can make them more severe and frequent including poor posture, stress on the muscles, current or prior injuries, disc problems, problems sleeping, and fatigue. (2) The pain usually occurs on one side of the head or face and can be easily aggravated by sudden movements or certain postures.

The good news is we can help. Manual therapy and exercise therapy are viable treatment options for cervicogenic headache sufferers. Results of one study show that these types of therapy can reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of cervicogenic headaches after six weeks of treatment. (3) Not only that, but results were maintained at three, six, and 12 month follow-ups.

1. The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition. Cephalalgia: An International Journal of Headache, 2004: 24 (1).

2. Nilsson N. The prevalence of cervicogenic headache in a random population sample of 20-59 year olds. Spine, 1995; 20 (17): 1884-1888.

3. Jull G, Trott P, Potter H, et al. A randomized controlled trial of exercise and manipulative therapy for cervicogenic headache. Spine, 2002; 27 (17): 1835-1843.

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