Neck pain causing headaches? Read Cervicogenic headache-


Cervicogenic headache is a chronic headache originating from the upper cervical joints. It is however perceived in regions of the head and/or face.

The main symptoms of a cervicogenic headache are unilateral pain, arm pain,  reduced neck motion , and also muscle weakness.


There are 7 cervical vertebrae. The C1-C3 nerves relay pain signals to the head and neck, thus causing referred pain.

cervical disc pathology, Neck trauma, whiplash, strain, and also chronic  muscle spasm can increase the sensitivity of the area.

A cervicogenic headache is therefore thought to be referred pain arising from spinal nerves C1, C2, and C3.

This is inclusive of the joints, disc, ligaments, and also musculature.

Clinical Presentation

  • unilateral dominant headache (however excluding migraine headaches).
  • aggravated by neck movement
  • Tenderness
  • Muscle tightness
  • Trigger points
  • Weakness in deep neck flexors

Diagnostic Criteria

  1. Pain localized in the neck and also occipital area
  2. Radiating pain
  3. Pain aggravated by sustained neck postures.
  4. At least one of – limitation of passive neck movements, Changes in neck muscle contour, tenderness
  5. Radiological findings- Abnormal posture of cervical joint, May also reveal any distinct pathology

When to seek medical help at the earliest?

  1. A new severe headache arising out of a sudden onset
  2. A worsening of a pre-existing headache
  3. fever, neck stiffness, skin rash
  4. history of cancer, HIV, or other systemic illness;
  5. focal neurologic signs
  6. headache triggered by exertion or presence of cough
  7. New headache during or following pregnancy.

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