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What Are Cervicogenic Headaches? 

 January 28, 2022

By  Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

cervicogenic headachesHeadaches are a very common problem that can have multiple causes ranging from stress to trauma.  To make matters worse, there are MANY different types of headaches. One such type is the cervicogenic headache (others include migraines, cluster headaches, etc.). In this article we’ll take a closer look at what it is and how to treat it naturally. Keep reading to learn more.

What Are Cervicogenic Headaches?

The main distinction between the symptoms associated with cervicogenic headaches and those associated with migraine headaches are a lack of nausea, vomiting, aura (pre-headache warning that a headache is about to strike), light and noise sensitivity, increased tearing with red eyes, one sided head, neck, shoulder and/or arm pain, and dizziness. The items listed above are primarily found in migraine headache sufferers.

The following is a list of clinical characteristics common in those struggling with cervicogenic headaches:

  • Unilateral (one-sided) head or face pain (rarely is it on both sides).
  • Pain is localized or stays in one spot, usually the back of the head, frontal, temporal (side) or orbital (eye) regions.
  • Moderate to severe pain intensity.
  • Intermittent attacks of pain that last hours to days.
  • Pain is usually deep, non-throbbing, unless migraines occur at the same time.
  • Head pain is triggered by neck movement, sustained awkward head postures, applying deep pressure to the base of the skull or upper neck region, and/or taking a deep breath, cough or sneeze can trigger head pain.
  • Limited neck motion with stiffness.

Infrequently, the cervicogenic headache sufferer can present with migraines at the same time and have both presentations making it more challenging to diagnose.

The cause of cervicogenic headaches can be obvious such as trauma (sports injury, whiplash, slip and fall), or not so obvious, like posture. A forward head posture can increase the relative weight applied to the back of the neck and upper back as much as 2x-4x normal. Remember, an intimate relationship between the upper 2 cervical vertebra (C1 & C2) and an anatomical connection to the covering of the spinal cord (the dura) as giving rise to cervicogenic headaches.

In summary, the upper 3 nerves innervate the head and any pressure on those upper 3 nerves can result in a cervicogenic headache. As chiropractors, we are trained to examine, identify, and treat these types of potentially debilitating headaches.

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for headaches, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

If you don’t have a local chiropractor and are looking for lasting relief from headaches, we encourage you to call today. Our Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Tripp Stover, specializes in helping people just like you overcome headaches.

Dr. Stover practices in Mechanicsville Virginia as an upper cervical chiropractor and chiropractic orthospinologist. His office is located at 9129 Dickey Drive In Mechanicsville, VA. The sooner you make the call, the sooner we can help you put an end to the suffering. So give us a call at (804) 559-1100. Do it today! You’ll be glad you did.

Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.


Dr. Stover grew up in Richmond. He has been married to his wife Andrea since 2000 and they make their home in Mechanicsville with their children, Avery and Garnett.

Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

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