Neck Headache

Neck Headache

Neck Headache

Understanding and Treating Cervicogenic Headaches

Issues within the neck joints often lead to neck headaches, also recognised as cervicogenic headaches. Manifesting at the base of the skull or upper neck, clinical evidence suggests that neck headaches account for 4% to 22% of all clinical headache cases. Unlike migraines, neck headaches respond to neck-based physiotherapy, often providing instant pain relief or change.

Identifying Symptoms of a Neck Headache

If you experience neck stiffness, tenderness, and limited movement, you might be suffering from a neck headache. A headache physiotherapist should evaluate and diagnose your condition. While imaging tests alone cannot confirm this headache type, they can reveal the neck structures that may be causing your pain. When physiotherapy doesn’t resolve the issue, further testing might be necessary to pinpoint and address other types of headaches.

The Experience of a Cervicogenic Headache

You may recognise a cervicogenic headache by pain that begins at the skull’s base and travels towards the front of the head. Neck movements, specific postures, or turning the head can trigger or alleviate the headache, which typically persists on one side of the head. Neck pressure or massages might offer temporary relief. Consult a physiotherapist if these symptoms sound familiar to discuss diagnosis and treatment options.

Content Patient Post Successful Neck Headache Treatment

Diagnosing Your Headache for Effective Treatment

Distinguishing neck headaches from migraines is crucial for proper treatment. A healthcare professional experienced in diagnosing cervicogenic headaches will evaluate your symptoms and medical history, possibly recommending additional tests to exclude other conditions.

Duration of Neck Headache

The length of a neck headache varies with its cause and treatment effectiveness. Durations can range from hours to months. Even if your neck feels normal, you could experience a headache, so consult a physiotherapist for a thorough evaluation, especially if persistent head pain is a concern.

Role of Imaging in Diagnosing Neck Headaches

Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, can identify structural neck issues but not diagnose neck headaches specifically. If head pain persists, cervical spine X-rays, coupled with a physical exam and clinical history, can inform your treatment plan. Your physiotherapist will advise on the necessity of these tests.

Multifaceted Cervicogenic Headache Treatment

Effective relief from cervicogenic headaches often requires a multi-modal approach, especially if a single treatment modality proves ineffective.

Neck Headache Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a common treatment for headache relief, involving joint mobilisations, neck muscle strengthening, posture improvement, and more.

Persistent Headaches: Next Steps

Inform your physiotherapist if your headache continues despite treatment. They will re-evaluate your treatment plan and may refer you to a specialist neurologist or recommend further testing to identify and treat the headache’s root cause.

Remember, determining the underlying cause of your headache can be intricate, but your physiotherapist will steer you toward the most effective treatment.


In summary, if you’re grappling with a persistent headache, it’s critical not to ignore the symptoms. With a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment, physiotherapy offers a promising path to relief and recovery. Don’t let neck pain and headaches diminish your quality of life. Our dedicated team of physiotherapists is ready to assess, diagnose, and create a tailored treatment plan just for you.

Book Your Appointment Today

Take the first step towards a pain-free life. Contact us now to book an appointment and let us help you move beyond the pain of cervicogenic headaches. Your journey to wellness begins with the right care—book for your assessment today.

Related Articles

  • What’s Causes Cervicogenic Headache? – This article explores the treatment plans for cervicogenic headaches and emphasises the importance of addressing the underlying causes.
  • Cluster Headaches – Discusses different types of headaches, including cervicogenic headaches, and offers insights into neck-related headaches and their treatment.
  • Headache Causes – A comprehensive article that covers various types of headaches, including neck headaches, and provides FAQs about cervicogenic headaches.
  • Severe Headache Symptoms: Urgent Red Flags & Care – Focuses on headache symptoms and includes information on various treatment methods like ice and heat applications.
  • Effective Cervical Facet Joint Pain Management – While focusing on cervical facet joint pain, this article is relevant due to the neck’s involvement in cervicogenic headaches.
  • Tension-Type Headaches – Relevant due to the connection between neck issues and tension-type headaches, often confused with cervicogenic headaches.
  • TMJ Headaches – Includes information on TMJ headaches, which can be related to cervicogenic headaches due to the involvement of neck muscles and posture.
  • Migraine vs Headache – Offers a comparative analysis of migraines and headaches, which is useful for understanding cervicogenic headaches in the broader context of headache disorders.
  • Neck Strengthening – What Specific Exercises To Do & Why – Relevant for readers seeking to strengthen neck muscles, potentially reducing the risk of cervicogenic headaches.
  • Neck Posture Correction – The importance of good posture, which is a key factor in preventing and managing neck-related headaches.

Article by Matthew Hewitt

Headache Causes

Headaches and migraines, unfortunately common, can greatly affect our lives. Understanding their types and causes is key to effective management and treatment.

Headaches and migraines can stem from a variety of factors. These include conditions related to the neck and jaw. Some specific types you might experience are neck, tension, cluster, and migraines.

Neck-related issues like neck pain, facet dysfunction, and pinched nerves can also lead to headaches. Additionally, jaw conditions such as TMJ pain and dysfunction can cause jaw headaches.

Headache Symptoms Differ

Identifying a headache's location, duration, and intensity can help pinpoint potential causes and effective treatments. This information isn't definitive but helps distinguish possible headache or migraine types.

headache causes
Headache Causes

Common Headache Types

Tension-Type Headaches

Tension-type headaches usually feel like a band across the forehead, extending into the neck. They are continuous, non-pulsating, and may be accompanied by neck or shoulder tenderness, but not nausea or increased sensory sensitivity.

Jaw Headache

TMJ or jaw-related headaches are localised around the jaw and ear, affecting one side. They often come with jaw movement issues, chewing difficulties, or sensations of clicking, locking, and catching in the jaw. TMJ physiotherapists and your dentist are good practitioners to start with to assess and treat your TMJ headache.

Neck Headache

Neck headaches (cervicogenic headaches) are typically a steady, non-throbbing pain at the skull's base, around one eye, or over the top of the head. They may also involve limited neck mobility, but this is not essential. your physiotherapist is best person to see for assessing and relieving your neck headache.

Cluster Headache

Cluster headaches are intensely concentrated around one eye. Accompanying symptoms can include a runny nose, drooping or reddened eye, or increased facial perspiration.

Concussion Headache

Concussion-related headaches resemble migraines with a throbbing sensation and are closely linked to concussions. If these headaches worsen, or if symptoms like slurred speech, seizures, or unusual behaviour occur, seek medical attention immediately.

Sinus Headache

Sinus headaches are characterised by pain, pressure, or fullness from the sinuses, often worsening when bending forward or lying down. They can also cause toothache-like pain or nasal congestion.


Migraines often affect one side of the head, involving the entire side of the head and face. They can occur with or without visual disturbances (aura) and include symptoms like nausea and sensitivity to light and noise.

In Conclusion

The causes of headaches and migraines vary, as do their treatments. Consult a healthcare practitioner such as your physiotherapist or doctor for accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plans. Understanding these differences is essential for effective headache management and relief.

General Information

Headache FAQs

John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

Experiencing a Headache or Migraine?

Understand Your Options

Headaches and migraines are more than just a nuisance; they can significantly disrupt your daily life. When you start experiencing these symptoms, it's imperative to seek medical advice. Doctors often recommend neurological assessments and may suggest a CT or MRI scan. These scans are vital for excluding serious conditions like aneurysms or tumours. Most of the time, fortunately, the results are normal.

What to Do When Your Scans Are Clear

Getting a clear scan result brings a sigh of relief, eliminating concerns about serious underlying causes. Yet, the task of identifying the source of your headaches or migraines remains.

Identifying the Root Cause of Your Headache

At PhysioWorks, we understand that diagnosing the root cause of headaches is a key step in treatment. We primarily focus on three types of headaches:

Headache Migraine Treatment
Managing Headache &Amp; Migraines

Understanding Neck-Related Headaches

Researchers feel that about one in four headaches is linked to neck issues. A thorough neck examination by a skilled headache physiotherapist is crucial. In many cases, the physiotherapist can diagnose and begin treating your neck headache from the first consultation.

Neck Headache: A Deeper Insight

Neck headaches, or cervicogenic headaches, often originate from neck joints, muscles, or ligaments. Symptoms include pain starting at the back of the head, radiating forwards, neck stiffness, and sometimes shoulder or arm pain. Physiotherapy techniques like manual therapy, specific exercises, and posture correction can provide significant relief.

Related article: Neck Headaches

Tension-Type Headaches: Understanding and Management

Tension-type headaches, marked by a band-like pain around the head, are frequently associated with stress, poor posture, and muscular tension. Physiotherapy plays a critical role in managing these headaches, offering stress-reduction techniques, ergonomic advice, and exercises to improve posture and muscle function.

Related article: Tension-Type Headaches

TMJ Headaches: The Role of Physiotherapy

TMJ headaches, stemming from jaw joint and muscle issues, present symptoms like facial pain, jaw clicking, and chewing difficulties. Physiotherapists, with a skillset in jaw disorders, offer specialised exercises, manual therapy, and advice to improve jaw function.

Related article: TMJ headaches

Latest Research and Developments

Recent studies underscore the effectiveness of physiotherapy in headache management. Techniques such as dry needling, acupuncture, specific neck and shoulder exercises, posture correction, and relaxation strategies have shown promise in reducing the frequency and intensity of headaches.

Conclusion: Seeking Professional Help

Managing headaches and migraines often requires a targeted approach. Physiotherapy offers a range of treatments customised to your needs. If headaches or migraines are affecting your life, consider consulting a qualified headache physiotherapist. This could be a significant step towards a pain-free life. However, always start with a doctor's consultation to exclude any serious underlying conditions.

Call to Action: Consult a Professional

Don't let headaches dictate your life. Reach out to a headache physiotherapist or your doctor today to embark on your journey to recovery and improved quality of life. Remember, investing in your health is paramount.

What to Do? Seek Professional Advice from Your Physiotherapist

If you're struggling with headaches or migraines, the first step is to consult a physiotherapist specialised in headache management. They can provide a comprehensive assessment and tailor a treatment plan suited to your specific needs, incorporating the latest research and techniques. Booking a consultation can be your first step towards finding relief and regaining control of your life.

Related Articles

  1. Neck Headache - This page provides an in-depth look at the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for neck-related headaches, which are often a result of issues with the neck joints, muscles, or ligaments​​.
  2. TMJ Headache - Readers will find information on how TMJ disorders can lead to headaches, including symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for jaw-related headache issues​​.
  3. Tension Headache Relief: Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment: Offers insights into tension-type headaches, including their causes, symptoms, and how physiotherapy can play a crucial role in managing these headaches​​.
  4. Migraine - Provides an overview of migraines, discussing their impact, the importance of medical advice, and physiotherapy's role in managing migraine symptoms​​.
  5. Cluster Headaches - Understanding And Managing The Pain: This article explores the severe nature of cluster headaches, their symptoms, and the potential for physiotherapy to aid in management and relief​​.
  6. Choosing The Right Pillow For Neck Support – Find Relief Now: Discusses how the right pillow can prevent neck pain and headaches, highlighting the importance of neck support for overall well-being​​.

Additional Information

For more details on specific headache types, migraine comparisons, and frequently asked questions, visit our website for comprehensive guides on: