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Cervicogenic Headaches

Headache Treatments in Colorado

A Cervicogenic headache is a painful, tension-type headache that starts in the back of the neck. While similar to migraines, they are distinctly different in that the pain is side-locked unilateral, meaning it always strikes the same side of the head. These are secondary headaches caused by pressure on the spine or neck. You might experience one after placing your neck in an awkward position for an extended period of time.


Whiplash and head trauma (any kind of head trauma is transmitted to the cervical spine) may trigger these headaches. In particularly severe cases, you can sometimes induce them just by moving your neck too quickly. If you experience headaches after physical activity, keeping your neck still for a long time, or after a back injury, there is a good chance your headache is Cervicogenic.

Your headache may me a Cervicogenic headache if you experience:

  • Pain in one side of the head.
  • Pain after coughing or sneezing
  • Neck pain before or during the headache
  • Difficulty moving your neck
  • Nausea

Why They Occur

There are several things that could be causing a Cervicogenic headache. Yours may have started after a back injury; even putting your hands in awkward positions can create these headaches. Hair stylists and truck drivers often develop these headaches because of the way they use their hands at work.

Cervicogenic headaches come and go, but it is unlikely that they will dissipate completely without treatment. You will need to consult with a headache specialist to determine why the headaches are occurring and what you can do to treat the true cause.


Healing the spine will help heal the head. There are numerous treatment options available, including muscle relaxants, physical therapy, occipital nerve blocks, and anti-inflammatory medication. At the Interventional Headache Center of Colorado, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is both effective and relaxing.