The neck and headaches

Neurol Clin. 2014 May;32(2):471-87. doi: 10.1016/j.ncl.2013.11.005. Epub 2014 Feb 28.


Cervicogenic headache is pain referred to the head from a source in the cervical spine or mediated by cervical nerves. Clinical features allow for no more than a diagnosis of probable cervicogenic headache. Definitive diagnosis requires evidence of a cervical source of pain. For most treatments, the evidence is limited or poor. Many patients with probable cervicogenic headache can be managed with exercise therapy, with or without manual therapy. Intractable cervicogenic headache can be investigated with controlled diagnostic blocks of the upper cervical joints and treated with thermal radiofrequency neurotomy. Other interventions are experimental or speculative.

Keywords: Cervical; Cervicogenic; Diagnosis; Headache; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cervical Vertebrae / innervation
  • Cervical Vertebrae / pathology
  • Cervical Vertebrae / physiopathology*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neurosurgical Procedures
  • Post-Traumatic Headache / diagnosis
  • Post-Traumatic Headache / etiology
  • Post-Traumatic Headache / therapy*
  • Spinal Nerves / pathology
  • Spinal Nerves / physiopathology
  • Spinal Nerves / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult