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Cervicogenic Headache: It's why your headache keeps coming back.

One of the most common types of headaches is called a cervicogenic headache. If you know how to handle them, it is not hard to treat and prevent these types of headaches. If you don't, they can be a headache that keeps coming back, again and again.

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There are over 17 different types of headaches. Chiropractic care has been shown to be very effective for the relief of many different types of these headaches. One, in particular, is called a Cervicogenic Headache.

What is a Cervicogenic Headache?

In the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, Cervicogenic Headaches are defined as a syndrome characterized by chronic hemicranial pain (pain on one side of the head) that is referred to the head from either bony structures or soft tissues of the neck. In addition, the Journal notes that medications alone are often ineffective or provide only modest benefit for this condition. (JAOA, April 2005)

What is the most common symptom of a Cervicogenic Headache?

People with cervicogenic headaches often complain of dull achy (nagging) pain on one side of the head or pain in the back of the head (especially at the base of the skull). Less common, these people may also experience pain in the temples and/or behind the eyes.

In a study published in the Spine Journal, researchers found that spinal manipulation (also called a Chiropractic Adjustment) was not only effective at treating Cervicogenic Headaches for the short-term, but continued to be effective 1 year after treatment. Many additional studies have also confirmed that treating the cause of the headaches (ie. the neck) with spinal manipulation is an effective therapy for the resolution of Cervicogenic Headaches.

As a chiropractor, I have had the opportunity to help hundreds of people suffering with Cervicogenic Headaches. Often times, seeking my care after medications and other treatments had failed. Although chiropractic care has been proven to be a safe and effective way of treating these types of headaches, many of these cases could have been avoided in the first place.

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7 ways to prevent Cervicogenic Headaches

  1. Make sure your computer/workstation is set up ergonomically correct

  2. Sleep with only one pillow (that is sized correctly for you)

  3. When talking on the phone, don’t hold it against your ear with your shoulder

  4. Don’t lie or sleep on the couch (especially while watching TV)

  5. Don’t read or watch TV in bed

  6. Perform neck exercises and stretches 2 to 3 times per week

  7. Use a neck roll with heat when relaxing

Implementing these tips and strategies, maintaining proper posture, and strengthening the muscles of the neck and upper back, are all easy ways to help to prevent Cervicogenic Headaches from occurring.

If you are having persistent or severe headaches, always consult your chiropractor or medical doctor. If you would like to schedule an appointment or find out more about me and my practice please visit

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Wishing you good health,

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