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I Suffer From Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic Headache Treatment

Cervicogenic headache, according to the International Classification of Headache Disorders, is classified as a secondary headache disorder. Secondary headache disorders refer to headaches originating from a problem other than the head itself.  This could be a dysfunction in the muscles, joints, discs, ligaments, or even nerves of the neck. Any of these aforementioned structures can then lead to the cervical afferent nerve fibres to be stimulated, to create pain pathways into the head, known as cervicogenic headache.

At the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic, 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.


Understanding Your Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Cervicogenic Headache?

With Cervicogenic headaches, the pain occurs due to another condition stimulating the pain-sensitive nerves of the head. This condition refers to a dysfunction along the cervical joints of the neck.

Those suffering from cervicogenic headaches may have mild to moderate pain. The headache is usually experienced on one side of the head, and often commences at the neck and courses its way up to the head and face.


Those suffering from cervicogenic headaches may also experience:

pulsating or sharp pain along the eye, forehead, side or back of the head

discomfort along the neck

reduced range of motion of the neck




vomiting may also be present with

difficulty concentrating

inability to function normally and,


Headache treatment in Brisbane

Understanding Your Headache

What is the cause of Cervicogenic Headaches?

An injury or dysfunction to the neck is thought to be the cause of pain referring to the head. This could be a sudden neck injury such as a motor vehicle accident, a fall, a blow or strike to the head, or any other form of whiplash injury to the neck. Many sufferers however do not recall any neck injuries, and most of the time have no history of any acute trauma to the neck or head. In this case, the injury to the neck most commonly occurs due to a repetitive strain injury (RSI). This can occur in those who have a poor posture with their heads protracted forwards. The poor alignment of the neck and head, places tremendous strain and forces on the neck joints, muscles, ligaments and nerves.

This is commonly found in office-type workers sitting in a poor posture, or people using their phone, book or computer with their head leaning forwards in a poor posture. Other examples are labourers, such as builders or painters, who may constantly look down, or above their heads. Overtime they will incidentally strain their neck during their repetitive workload. These can all cause repetitive strain injury (RSI) to the neck and, overtime, develop into a cervicogenic headache.

About The Assessment Stage

What To Expect During The Assessment

1. Comprehensive and in-depth examination

We instigate an in-depth assessment to identify all possible related factors that could be causing your headaches or migraines. The upper cervical spine, in particular, is thoroughly examined to identify possible issues.

2. Ligamental stability and vertebral arterial tests

We undertake careful examination of neck ligaments and vertebral arteries, ensuring only the highest standards of patient safety and comfort.

3. Temporarily reproduce your headache and migraine symptoms

As a part of the treatment process, we apply gentle and selective stress to the upper cervical spine in order to reproduce headache symptoms, which subside after 20-30 seconds. This helps to identify and treat the cause of your headaches.

More information about Cervicogenic Headache

Neck Injury and Dysfunction

In the case of Cervicogenic headache, the injury or any dysfunction to the neck, will stimulate afferent nerve fibres. This will send signals to the head which is perceived as pain, known as Cervicogenic Headache. Those with Cervicogenic Headaches exhibit with a dysfunction in the following upper 3 cervical spine:

* Atlanto-Occipital joint (O-C1)

* Atlanto-Axial joint (C1-2)

* Second and third Cervical spine (C2-3)

Sensitised Brainstem

Clinical trials indicate the problem from the upper cervical spine to result in a sensetised brainstem. Those suffering from cervicogenic headaches will have a dysfunction along the 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.

Dysfunction in these joints will result in a sensitised brainstem, which will induce pain to radiate into the head. Those with this problem will perceive headaches and potentially migraine pain as a consequence.

I’ve tried it all. What else can be done to help my Cervicogenic Headache?

Treating your Cervicogenic Headache

Many practitioners still utilise outdated medical models to treat cervicogenic headaches. But 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.

Tools for managing migraines.