Cervicogenic Headaches

September 16, 2017

Neck and back pain are the most common condition in which patient goes for endless pain medication, the intense throbbing pain is quite common.

Headache can be of different types. Migraines, tension type or clusters, beside these many people complaints of pain starting from base of skull and travelling to head, we can called such type of pain as cervicogenic headaches. The pain reffered to head from Cervical spine or muscle of cervical region.

The pain is felt in neck and on one side of head usually behind eye, forehead and temple. However pain worsens with neck movements, sustained awkward movement too increases pain. Duration of symptoms can last from few hours to a couple of weeks.

Quite often cervicogenic headache come on after a head or neck injury, but can also happen withouts trauma.

C2-C3 facet joint of spine are the most common source of pain in people following trauma. The muscle fibres of trigeminal nerve , spinal accessory nerve, cervical nerve roots that starts in upper part of neck refer pain in to head and face. Pain signals from this region can send sensory signals trough there nerve, which present is a headache.

Manual therapy and exercise both in combination is highly effective as a treatment option for cervicogenic headaches.Certain exercises includes chin tucks with resistence, wall angels for scapular strengthening, maintaining good posture.

Common treatment also includes

1. Thoracic mobiliasation – Good mobility at thoracic spine directly influnce the neck; significant improvement in pain and function which is a full and lasting resolution of pain.

2. centralisatization – as in mckenzie pain is regulated through centralization techniques; bringing symptoms from distal area to proximal area. Mckenzie perfoms repeated movements in a certain direction to central symptoms.


1 chin tucks – repetition 10-15 reps every waking hrs.

2 Chin tucks with extension – maintain tuck as you gently extend your head back. 10-15 reps every waking hrs

3 Neural mobilisation – restoring dynamic balance between movement of nerve and surrounding tissue, thus minimizing pressure on nerve and promoting movement.

4 Traction –
a: mechanical traction – through a traction machine available at Physiotherapy clinic.
b: over the door traction – in sitted position through weight and pulley system.

5 Strengthening and coordination of the deep neck flexors