Cervicogenic Headache

by | Jun 7, 2023 | Blog, General Physio | 0 comments

Winnie Wong explains what a Cervicogenic Headache is, the risk factors, signs and symptoms, and how physiotherapy can help.


Cervicogenic headache is a type of headache which originates from the upper cervical spine. The pain starts from the neck and refers up into the head. It has been reported to account for 20% of headaches and is more common in women than men.

Cervicogenic headaches usually present as a constant dull pain, however the intensity can worsen and may have a huge impact on daily function. A randomised control trial by Rodríguez-Sanz, J at el. (2022) found that four x 20 minutes sessions of manual therapy and home exercise program was more effective than just exercise alone in reducing the symptoms of cervicogenic headache and improving cervical range of motion.




Signs and symptoms include:

  • One sided headache
  • Pain in the neck, shoulder and/or arm of the same side of the headache
  • Provoked by sustained positions
  • Reduced cervical range of motion (stiff neck)
  • Reduced deep neck flexor strength




Risk factors include:

  • More prevalent in women
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Forward head posture
  • Kyphotic posture (hunch back)




Following are some of the ways that a physiotherapist can help:

  • Manual therapy – cervical joint mobilization
  • Exercises – deep neck flexor strengthening
  • Posture retraining – reduced forward head posture


At Innovations Physio & Pilates, we can assist with getting you back to your activities with confidence and comfort.



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