Cervicogenic Headache

What is Cervicogenic Headache?

Cervicogenic headache is classified as a secondary headache disorder. Secondary headache disorders refers to headaches originating from a problem other than the head itself. This means the cause of cervicogenic headache does not come from the head, muscles of the head nor brain itself.

The term cervicogenic headache refers to a dysfunction along the cervical joints of the neck. Those suffering from cervicogenic headaches may have mild to moderate pain radiating along one side of the neck and coursing on the same side of the head and face region. They may feel pulsating or sharp pain along the eye, forehead, side or back of the head. They will often have focal discomfort along the neck, as well as reduced range of motion of the neck. Nausea and vomiting may also be present with those suffering from cervicogenic headaches1. Patients may also experience dizziness, tinnitus, difficulty concentrating, inability to function normally and depression.

What is the cause of Cervicogenic Headache?

Discoveries within recent research have theorised the reason for an injury to the neck to be the cause of pain referring into the head. The fault appears to originate in the upper cervical spine which induces headaches. This can occur when the neck is provided with even small amounts of sensory or chemical input. In the case of Cervicogenic headache, it is thought that an injury or any dysfunction to the neck sends referral pain to travel to the head, known as Cervicogenic Headache2. Those with Cervicogenic Headaches exhibit with a dysfunction in the upper 3 cervical spine. These are as follow:

* Atlanto-Occipital joint (O-C1)

* Atlanto-Axial joint (C1-2)

* Second and third Cervical spine (C2-3)

The latest research along with clinical trials indicate the problem to be due to the upper cervical spine resulting in a SENSITISED BRAINSTEM. Those suffering from cervicogenic headaches will have a dysfunction in the upper cervical spine whether it be O-C1, C1-2, C2-3 or all of the combined 3 segments. The brainstem and more importantly, the Trigemino-Cervical Nucleus (TCN) is located in the upper three cervical spine. A dysfunction in these joints will result in a sensitised brainstem, which induces pain radiating into the head. Those with this problem will perceive headache and migraine pain as a consequence.

I've already tried everything. What else can be done to help Cervicogenic Headaches?

At the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic™, we have seen countless amounts of patients with cervicogenic headaches and use world-class techniques in assessing and treating the neck. Modern medicine continues to improve, and unfortunately this means that not everyone can keep up to date with the latest research. Many practitioners still utilise outdated medical models to treat cervicogenic headaches.

Here at the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic, we specialise in treating headaches and migraines. Therefore, we pride ourselves on keeping up to date with the latest literature, and applying the most effective treatments. We have seen countless patients with Cervicogenic Headaches with significant results. A thorough examination of the upper cervical spine is initiated to determine the severity of your SENSITISED BRAINSTEM. If your brainstem is hypersensitive and causing  your cervicogenic headaches, we undergo treatment in order to desensitise the brainstem effectively and safely.

Once treatment commences we expect a significant improvement to occur rapidly in 90% of our patients with Cervicogenic Headaches, within the first 5 treatment consultations. We’re not in the business of giving false hope. If we don’t think our treatment can help you, we will let you know after the initial consultation. Our treatment is effective in alleviating or dramatically reducing Cervicogenic Headaches in 85-90% of sufferers.

The best part is our treatment is drug-free, surgery-free and invasive-free. 

Imagine living a life free from headaches and migraines and saying goodbye to medications!

To gain your recovery today contact us on 1800 HEADACHE (toll free)

1800 43 23 22

1. Sjasstad O, Bakketeig LS. Prevalence of cervicogenic headache: Vaga study of headache epidemiology. Acta Neurol Scand 2008; 117:173-180

2. Watson, D.H. and Drummond, P.D. (2014). Cervical Referral of Head Pain in Migraineurs: Effects on the Nociceptive Blink Reflex. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 54(6), pp.1035-1045.

Whiplash (Motor Vehicle Accidents) Associated Headaches Brisbane