Cervicogenic Headaches: A Real Pain In The Neck

Cervicogenic headaches are an often-overlooked headache type. These headaches cause pain in the back of the head, the temporal areas, and behind the eyes and are often mistaken for—or co-exist with—tension headaches, migraine headaches and neck pain. Often patients with cervicogenic headaches will have a history of a neck injury such as whiplash, or participate in activities that cause excess stress to the upper neck such as working on computers or looking down at smart phones. Poor posture is also a factor.

The treatment for this type of headache starts with physical therapy which helps most people. Sometimes medications like muscle relaxers, gabapentin or Lyrica are used to help treat the pain. For people whose headaches are refractory to conservative treatments, procedures like occipital nerve blocks, steroid injections or percutaneous radiofrequency neurotomy can provide lasting relief.