Cervicogenic Headache




Review Sections

Cervicogenic Headache Icon    Cervicogenic Headache

Cervicogenic headache (CH) was only recently recognized by the International Headache Society as a distinct headache diagnosis. It is described as pain originating in the structures of the cervical spine and characterized as a deep, non-throbbing, recurring headache. Its prevalence has been estimated to be as high as 16% of the population.(1)

(1) Rasmussen BK, Jensen R, Schroll M, Olesen J. Epidemiology of headache in a general population--a prevalence study. J Clin Epidemiol 1991; 44(11):1147-1157

Clinical Reviews

Cervicogenic Headache: Prevention

The recognition of cervicogenic headache (CH) as a distinct and separate form of headache is relatively recent. First mentioned in the literature in the late 1940’s, it wasn’t until 1983 the descriptive term "cervicogenic headache" was coined by Sjaastad et al. Many conditions have existed throughout the ages, yet have only limited information as to risk factors and prevention. It should not be surprising that only one risk factor has been published in the scientific literature for CH. The only factor that has been identified is trauma, usually whiplash injury.

Cervicogenic Headache: Diagnosis

By definition cervicogenic headache can arise from any pain generating source in the neck that refers pain to the head. Muscles, nerves, joints, ligaments and discs have all been implicated in the genesis of cervicogenic headache CH. However a consensus of scientific study has identified structures of the upper three cervical vertebrae as a most common source of pain.

Cervicogenic Headache: Therapy

There several interventions for the treatment of cervicogenic headache (CH) but most have varying results. The exception is cervical manipulation. As Haldeman and Dagenais state in their critical review, “the only treatment approach supported by a reasonable body of controlled trials is cervical manipulation.” Other treatments discussed below may amplify the practitioner's results and should also be considered.

Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) Information

MeSH Term: Post-Traumatic Headache

Scope Note: Secondary headache attributed to TRAUMA of the HEAD and/or the NECK.

MeSH Synonyms:
  • Post-Traumatic Headache
  • Headache, Post-Traumatic
  • Headaches, Post-Traumatic
  • Post Traumatic Headache
  • Post-Traumatic Headaches
  • Cervicogenic Headache
  • Cervicogenic Headaches
  • Headache, Cervicogenic
  • Headaches, Cervicogenic
Applicable MeSH Subheadings:
  • analysis
  • anatomy and histology
  • blood
  • cerebrospinal fluid
  • chemically induced
  • classification
  • complications
  • diagnosis
  • diagnostic imaging
  • drug therapy
  • epidemiology
  • etiology
  • genetics
  • history
  • immunology
  • metabolism
  • pathology
  • physiology
  • physiopathology
  • prevention and control
  • psychology
  • rehabilitation
  • statistics and numerical data
  • surgery
  • therapy

Informative Links


MedlinePlus: Headache

MedlinePlus will direct you to information to help answer health questions. MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations.

Current Clinical Trials Relating to  Cervicogenic Headache OR Post-Traumatic Headache

ClinicalTrials.gov: Provides patients, family members, and members of the public easy and free access to information on clinical studies for a wide range of diseases and conditions.


Headache Analysis and Intervention

(Status: Not yet recruiting)


Chiropractic and Acupressure for Headaches

(Status: Unknown status)


RELAXaHEAD for Headache Patients

(Status: Recruiting)

56 Clinical Trials Returned