Cervicogenic headache

Cervicogenic headache

| Cervicogenic headach
  • Unilateral (one-sided) headache
  • Headache increased or initiated by neck posture and movement
  • Tenderness of the upper neck
  • Association with neck pain or stiffness

When headaches appear to be coming from the neck, physiotherapy can be a powerful tool for treatment, as multiple physiotherapy treatment options can help.

  • Excessive strain
  • Poor work posture (awkward neck posture)
  • Prolong sitting
  • Trauma to neck or shoulder muscle
How to know your headache is cervicogenic headache?

It can sometimes be confusing to know if you have a cervicogenic headache, as the symptoms of different types of headaches are often quite similar. Neck pain and tenderness are common 

symptoms of migraine, tension-type and cervicogenic headache

In migraine and tension-type headache

  • Neck pain is often a spread of the headache into the neck.

 In cervicogenic headache, (it is the opposite).

  • The neck pain starts and then spreads into the head.
  • This headache is from a local cause in the neck.
  • Neck movements are stiff and painful in cervicogenic headache.


  • Might indicate that the headache is coming from the neck (cervicogenic headache), and physiotherapy treatment is the best management.
  • The examination might suggest the headache is another type (eg, migraine or tension-type headache)—that is, the neck joints and muscles were found to be normal. 

Manual therapy

  • Release tissue restrictions around neck, head and back.
  • Cervical movement dysfunctions and safely apply advanced “hands on” therapy techniques
  • Include mobilization and manipulation of tight structures or areas around the neck. 


The exercises are prescribed depending on your requirements, and are designed to:

  • Ease pain
  • Improve posture and postural habits
  • Improve movement and flexibility of the neck
  • Train the supporting muscles of the neck and shoulder girdle
  • Train strength and endurance of the neck muscles
  • Train balance, movement accuracy, as well as head and eye movement control when light-headedness or unsteadiness are symptoms of the headache disorder.


  • To develop best work, activity and lifestyle habits to relieve unnecessary strain on the neck. 


Twisting from side to side 

(reduce stiffness in back )

Bending neck from side to side 

(reduce tension on neck )

  • Manual release techniques around the joint to improve mobility and pain relieve.
  • Stretching and rom exercises
  • strengthening exercises for head and neck.
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