Research Spotlight: Cervicogenic Headaches

by | Jun 8, 2023 | Blog, General Physio | 0 comments

A review by Winnie Wong…..


Are you experiencing a headache with neck pain?
Do you find yourself always poking your chin forward with rounded shoulders?


Page, P. (2011). Cervicogenic headaches: an evidence-led approach to clinical management. International journal of sports physical therapy, 6(3), 254.




You might be suffering from a cervicogenic headache, which is a type of headache secondary to cervical (neck) problems. Since this is a secondary problem from the neck, it is important to find out the primary cause. Page, P. (2011) talks about a specific pattern of muscle tightness and weakness called the “Upper Crossed Syndrome.” This is commonly found in people with cervical dysfunction and cervicogenic headaches. These people will have tightness in their pectorals (chest) and upper back (trapezius) and weakness in deep neck and mid back muscles (rhomboids and mid trapezius).


Management Strategies Include:

  • Stretching the corresponding muscles to reduce tightness and trigger point pain.
  • Strengthening the deep neck muscles to reduce compensation from the superficial muscles.
  • Postural correction of any forward head posture, this in turn reduces stress on the upper cervical spine.
  • General strengthening of the upper back is crucial to integrate the larger muscles to help support and share the load of the smaller muscles.



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