Post Traumatic Headache, Cervicogenic (Neck) Headache and Migraine or Tension Headache

July 8, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Is there any difference between post traumatic headache, cervicogenic (neck) headache and migraine or tension headache?

Several studies have shown that symptoms of whiplash-induced headache are often similar to those of spontaneous, natural headaches.

In one study of 48 patients experiencing chronic post-traumatic headaches, 36 patients (75%) were diagnosed with chronic tension-type headaches, 10 (21%) were classified as migraine without aura, and 2 (4%) were undiagnosed. The symptoms of the headaches within each diagnostic group were then compared to those in a control group with naturally occurring, non traumatic headaches of the same type. No appreciable differences between the post-traumatic and control groups were found. Hence, post-traumatic headaches are symptomatically identical to either tension-type headache or migraine.

This result supports the role of cervicogenic (neck) mechanism in not only causing post-traumatic headache but also involvement in other (non traumatic) headaches – tension headache and migraine.



(De Benedittis G, De Santis A. Chronic post-traumatic headache: clinical, psychopathological features and outcome determinants. J Neurosug Sci 1983;27(3):177-186

Haas DC. Chronic post-traumatic headaches classified and compared with natural headaches. Cephalalgia 1996;16:486-93

Weiss HD, Stern BJ, Goldberg J. Post-traumatic migraine: chronic migraine precipitated by minor head or neck trauma. Headache 1991;31(7):451-456)

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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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