Many experts believe that neck muscles and tissues cause cervicogenic headaches. “Cervicogenic” means that the pain is caused by an issue within the cervical section of the spine, also called the neck. A whiplash injury is a common cause but trauma or injury is not the sole cause of this type of headache. Anything that irritates neck muscles or the cervical portion of the spin can be the cause.
Cervical headache reliefs are one of the five primary types of headaches in the National Institutes of Health classification system. They originate from neck disorders, including anatomical structures innervated by the C1 to C3 cervical roots. These headaches are often caused by a prolonged period of awkward positioning of the head or some type of neck movement. Arm, shoulder, or neck pain or restricted range of motion in the cervical area often accompanies the headache.
There are no dedicated scans or neurological, laboratory, or orthopedic tests for diagnosing a headache. A headache is classified as a clinical diagnosis, meaning that it is based on knowledge obtained through physical examination and medical history. In the under ten percent of cases that are due to disease, an MRI or other test is used to determine the cause. However, the majority of people suffering from headaches are accurately diagnosed by a thorough case history.