Cervicogenic headache

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Cervicogenic headache is a bilateral headache usually stemming from the cervical spinal cord and/or the trigeminal nerve.[1] It is a common type of headache, usually caused by arthritis, degenerative disk disease, muscle spasms in the neck, or whiplash. [2] Cervicogenic headache may also be associated with scoliosis and other posture or bone abnormalities. [2]

Diagnosis & Symptoms

Cervicogenic headaches have many similar symptoms as migraines, and it may be difficult to distinguish the two.[1] Additionally, it's possible that a migraineur may also suffer from cervicogenic headaches and fail to notice the additional syndrome because of its similarities to migraine. Although there is no indication of any link between cervicogenic headaches and hormones, cervicogenic headaches occur more frequently in women.[2] This is comparative to migraines, which also occur more frequently in the female population.

The most frequent symptom of cervicogenic headache is a headache that begins in the neck, shoulder, or upper back pain and is expressed through pain in the forehead, temples, or eye socket(s).[2] Pain may also occur in the back of the head, the neck, upper back, shoulder, and down an arm. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, photophobia, phonophobia, and blurred vision. [3]

Pain usually worsened by holding the neck in one position for long periods, or by moving it in a particular direction or angle.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 David M. Biondi, DO. "Cervicogenic Headache: A Review of Diagnostic and Treatment Strategies." J Am Osteopath Assoc April 1, 2005 vol. 105 no. 4 suppl 16S-22S. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. http://www.jaoa.org/content/105/4_suppl/16S.full
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Josheph Kandel, M.D. and David Sudderth, M.D. //The Headache Cure.// 2006. pp.63-65
  3. "Cervicogenic Headache." NYU Langone Medical Center. http://pain-medicine.med.nyu.edu/patient-care/conditions-we-treat/cervicogenic-headache