Are Cervicogenic Disorders the Common Cause of Headache and Migraine?

July 7, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

The Upper Cervical Segments

The Upper Cervical Segments

A study of tension headache and migraine sufferers has demonstrated significant abnormalities of the neck – including a loss of normal lordosis (the natural inward curve of the neck) and restricted movement of the upper two spinal segments. These findings suggest that both migraine and tension headache share a common cause – disorders of the cervical spine – supporting the premise that the neck plays an important, but largely ignored role in causing headache and migraine.

Meanwhile this debate doesn’t help you as a headache or migraine sufferer!

Temporary reproduction of familiar headache or migraine pain when gently stressing movements of the upper cervical spine can confirm cervicogenic dysfunction as the source of your headache or migraine.



(Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edn. Cephalalgia 2004; 24(suppl.1):1-151

Pavese N, Bibbiani F, Nuti A, Bonuccelli U. Sumatriptan in cervicogenic headache. Proceedings European Headache Federation 2nd International Conference 1994; Abstract 131

Sjaastad O, Fredricksen TA, Pfaffenrath V. Cervicogenic headache: diagnostic criteria. Headache 1998; 38:442-5

Vernon H, Steimann I, Hagino C. Cervicogenic dysfunction in muscle contraction headache and migraine: a descriptive study. J Manip Physiol Ther 1992 15:7: 418-29)

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About dean
Consultant Headache & Migraine Physiotherapist; International Teacher; Director, The Headache Clinic & Watson Headache Institute; PhD Candidate Murdoch University, Western Australia; Adjunct Lecturer, Masters Program, Physiotherapy School, University of South Australia; MAppSc(Res) GradDipAdvManipTher Experienced health practitioners trained in the Watson Headache Approach perform the examination and treatment techniques developed by Dean Watson. These techniques are based on his extensive experience of 7000 headache patients (21,000 hours) over 21 years and are now taught internationally. For your nearest practitioner who has completed training in the ‘Watson Headache Approach’ please refer to the ‘Practitioner Directory’.

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