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August 13, 2013


Cervicogenic Headache

by Amy

When I look at my stats page I read all the search terms people used that made them wind up on my blog and sometimes that makes a blog post appear in my head.  Yesterday there was a search term ‘cervicogenic headache stroke.’  Cervicogenic headaches was the topic of my last case report paper thing in PT school.  I would never say that this relates to a stroke but maybe it does, who knows?  A cervicogenic headache is a headache that comes from the cervical spine, the neck.  So if something is going on with your neck muscles, if they’re all tight and have a bunch of knots it can cause a headache.  That’s a cervicogenic headache.  Bad alignment of your cervical spine will cause the discs to do weird things which can also cause cervicogenic headaches.  I get a lot of headaches, but they’re not cervicogenic.  I get headaches because I have a f’d up brain and I had a stroke.  My headaches aren’t referred from my neck.  Remember what referred pain is?  Referred pain is pain that is felt somewhere on the body in a different spot than what’s actually causing the pain.  Like if the left arm hurts when you’re having a heart attack.  That’s what cervicogenic headaches are, they’re referred pain from the neck.  To help a cervicogenic headache – POSTURE.  The main way to help this kind of headache is to have good posture.  Also, you need to relax those neck muscles, do some shoulder shrugs, get a massage.  Seriously though, posture, posture, posture, posture, posture.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aug 13 2013

    I don’t often have pain, but when I do, I think of your statement that most pain can be tracked to posture. That straightens me out. The pain doesn’t go away immediately, but it keeps reminding me to stop slumping, which always helps.

    • Aug 13 2013

      Yes! Absolutely most pain can be tracked to posture. If you have something neurological going on or cancer or something that’s a different story but from an orthopedic standpoint most pain is spinal related.

  2. Aug 13 2013

    Mine is most definitely spine related. I have a congenital defect in my cervical spine and now a pinched nerve around c3 or 4. Keep a constant headache even with shrugs, rom, and traction. Thing about it is I keep good posture…it’s the spasticity working on the vertebrae.

    • Aug 13 2013

      Aww so the spasticity is causing not so great posture?

      • Aug 15 2013

        Yep. 😦 Considering when it is at the worse, I am drawn up into an almost fetal posture with my arm and my leg and shoulder don’t cooperate either to sitting up straight. Due to the congenital defect in my neck added to the spasticity of the tone of my neck it’s hard to hold my head straight. It keeps me bent to one side and the muscles pull.

  3. Aug 13 2013

    Reblogged this on The Wonky Walker and commented:
    Very informative post. Well worth the time to read:


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