Cervicogenic headaches: What are they and how can we help?

Suffering from headaches can really impact your day-to-day life and be very debilitating. There are many types of headaches and reasons that they will occur, so it’s important to try and find the root cause of your headache. In this article, we look at a particular headache, where the source is from the neck and back.

What is a Cervicogenic headache?

According to the International Headache Society Classification (2018), a Cervicogenic headache is a chronic headache arising from the cervical spine (neck joints) or soft tissue (muscles) of the neck. These are a type of secondary headache which is often felt across the temples of the head and back of the head and down the neck and occurs in around 4.6% of the general population. (Knackstedt et al. 2010) Symptoms also include neck stiffness and loss of neck movement. Usually, this headache worsens by provocative movements to the neck and head such as applying pressure. (HIS, 2018)

When we examine a patient with a Cervicogenic headache, we usually find stiffness within the neck joints which will cause the neck muscles to be overworked and lead to spasms. These muscles are overworked in order to protect the neck as a result of poor posture and breathing patterns. 

Manual therapy for Cervicogenic headaches

Cervicogenic have shown to be effectively treated with the help of manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue work, joint mobilization and stretching. Also, the management of headaches associated with neck pain should include exercise as part of the treatment plan. (Varatharajan et el. 2016)

Reduce your headaches with Body Consultancy

Here at Body Consultancy, across both our health clinics in Ringwood and Verwood, we have practitioners that specialise in relieving pain caused by headaches. Our Osteopaths will work closely with you to find the cause of the pain and put a bespoke plan in place to resolve the pain. This may include a series of exercises you do from home, paired with regular sessions at your chosen health clinic.

Your initial complimentary consultation will establish which practitioner has the best knowledge of your problem for you to be paired with. By choosing a multi-discipline health clinic you will benefit from the knowledge of various practitioners all under one roof.

For more information on how we can help with headaches, please give us a call to book a complimentary consultation on 01425 839908 (Ringwood) or 01202 021138 (Verwood). Alternatively, you can book online and choose your desired day and time online here

We look forward to welcoming you to Body Consultancy.


  • Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society (HIS). The international classification of headache disorders, 3rd edition, Cephalgia 2018; 38(1)
  • Knackstedt H, Bansevicius D, Aaseth K, Lundqvist C, Russel MB. Cervicogenic headaches in the general population: the Akershus study of chronic headache. Cephalgia 2010; 30(1), 1468-1476
  • Varatharajan S et. Al. Are non-invasive interventions effective for the management of headaches associated with neck pain? An update on the Bone and Joint Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders but he Ontario protocol for Traffic injury management (OPTIMa) Collaboration, European Spine Journal 2016; 25(7), 1971-1999