Face / Head / Neck

Cervicogenic Headache

What is cervicogenic headache?

Cervicogenic headache is headache caused by a problem in the neck (cervix).

Causes

The cause of cervicogenic headache is unknown. Although patients sometimes develop this headache after an accident involving their neck, it is not the same as a whiplash. Experts assume that the disorder involves abnormalities of the cervical vertebrae (or the effects of an accident) causing nerve signals to the head.

Signs and symptoms

Cervicogenic headache starts in the neck and then radiates to the forehead and the area alongside the patient's eyes, sometimes including the area above the eye as well. The headache usually occurs on one side only, but may also be felt on both sides. It is usually a nagging type of pain. It may come in episodes, which may last a few hours to a few days, but it is often hard to predict how long it will last. The headache may also become chronic. Patients also have other complaints, like restricted mobility of the neck and neck pain. The headache may be triggered by turning the head and/or remaining in the same position for a long time.

How is cervicogenic headache diagnosed?

The diagnosis of cervicogenic headache is based on the pattern of the patient's complaints.  If you visit our clinic because of cervicogenic headache, you will always be given a neurological examination to exclude the possibility of a slipped disc in your neck. In addition to the neurological examination, the doctor will examine the mobility of your neck and shoulders, to see if certain movements are restricted or painful. The doctor will also feel your neck to see whether pressing on any of the vertebrae causes pain.

Do I need additional examinations?

  • Diagnostic examination for other non-physical factors important for your pain, have already been done by yourself trough filling out your pain questionnaires.
  • If necessary, an X-ray or scans of your neck will be made to exclude other possible causes.

What are my treatment possibilities?

Multidisciplinary Treatment

Depending on the cause of your pain, your pain specialist will decide whether or not to embark on physical treatment. Based on the results of the completed pain questionnaire, additional examinations can be carried out and, apart from physical treatment, other methods of treatment will be suggested.

Non-physical Treatments

If the results of your pain questionnaire are abnormal, your pain specialist will offer you one of the non-physical treatments listed below:

Physical Treatments

Medication

Other treatments

Interventional Pain Treatments