A cervicogenic headache is a term used to describe a headache caused by abnormalities of the joints, muscles, fascia and neural structures of the neck region.
The pain is usually caused by irritation of the upper cervical structures.
In this condition, the pain is dull and one-sided but sometimes it may perceive on both left and right of the neck. It can be constant or intermittent. Typically, pain starts gradually, and patient normally wakes with a headache; however, it usually improves during the day.
These kinds of headaches may be present for days, weeks or even months. Some patients with a cervicogenic headache have a history of acute trauma like whiplash.
Moreover, cervical headache is often associated with neck pain, light-headedness, dizziness, and tinnitus. Nausea may be present, but vomiting is rare.
Last but not least, inspection of the patient with suspected cervical headache involves systematic examination of the joints, muscles and neural structures of the cervical region, as well as an assessment of cervical posture.
On the examination, it is common to find an increased tone and muscle shortening in the suboccipital and erector spinae muscles.
A neural component of the patient’s headache is suspected if upper limb neurodynamic testing reproduces the patient’s pain.