The Most Common Headache You Haven’t Heard Of:

Headaches are an often overlooked burden that roughly 50% of the global population suffer from on a regular basis. Headaches are often poorly managed with medications; this is due to the fact that diagnosing a headache accurately outside of a major health issue is quite difficult.

Common headache types that exist include:

  • Migraines

  • Tension

  • Cluster

  • Sinus

  • Cervicogenic

I bet you may have heard of the first four listed, but most people haven’t heard of the fifth- Cervicogenic headaches.

Roughly 45% of people suffering from headaches have Cervicogenic headaches that are misdiagnosed as something else, most often migraines or tension headaches.

Cervicogenic headaches simply means they stem from the cervical spine (neck joints and musculature). The exciting news is that cervical headaches, if diagnosed properly though a movement based exam, have a 76% resolution rate if treated with specific exercise and manual therapy.

The cause of cervical headaches include joint dysfunction, nerve irritation, and muscle tension. These are all things we treat at Lakeside on a daily basis.

Characteristics of Cervicogenic Headaches:

  • One sided headaches that can be on the front, back of the eye, side, or back of the head and neck.

  • Symptoms are irritated by certain neck movements, like looking over your shoulder or sustained postures (staring at a computer screen).

  • Pain episodes vary in duration, or fluctuating continuous pain.

  • Pain that moves around.

  • Limitations in the neck range of motion.

  • Tension and trigger points in the upper traps and neck.

In addition to being the gold-standard in low back and neck pain, McKenzie (or MDT) is incredibly accurate and efficient in diagnosing cervical headaches.

The Doctors here at Lakeside advance treatment even further; integrating MDT movements with the modalities of adjustments, soft tissue work, and dry-needling that result in excellent outcomes that allow our patients to live pain free from headaches that have often plagued them

for years!

What to take from this post:

  • 45% of headaches are misdiagnosed, and 76% of cervical headaches respond to Chiropractic Care.

  • Cervicogenic headaches are variable in intensity and duration, and are associated with neck issues, including tension and loss of range of motion.

  • To properly diagnose and treat, you need a thorough mechanical exam to find the root cause and treat properly.

If any of the key points in this blog resonate with headaches you are experiencing, or make you question if your pain is generating from your neck, it’s probably time to check in with a good Mechanically trained clinician.

To learn more about how we treat headaches, visit: or book an appointment with one of our Doctors:

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