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Cervicogenic Headaches

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

Cervicogenic headaches are understood to be more unilateral in nature, with pain originating from one side of the neck/head and travelling into the front region with ipsilateral arm discomfort in some instances. It may also be bilateral (meaning both sides of the head can be involved) and neck included. These neck positions may be irritated by driving, carpentry work, hair-dressing, office work etc. Neck pain usually precedes or will co-exist with the onset of a headache. It is also aggravated through specific movements or sustained postures. Worth noting: Up to 44 % of those with “cervicogenic” headache may potentially have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. The convergence of sensory information underpins the pathophysiology involved with input from the upper cervical spine into the trigeminal spinal nucleus with resultant pain generation. Pain could arise from the upper cervical facets, cervical muscles, intervertebral discs, vertebral and internal carotid arteries, posterior cranial fossa and dura mater of the spinal cord. Identification of red flags is super important early on, so referral from you physio may be necessary, particularly if there are any features or concerns from the initial assessment. A mindful assessment is always needed to ensure this taken into consideration early on!



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