Cervicogenic Headache

Headaches are no fun, no matter the type. If you’re like most of us, you just want them gone as soon as possible. Fortunately, chiropractic is very effective for headaches, and because cervicogenic headache is often due to a misalignment in the neck, it is very responsive to chiropractic adjustments.

Common Triggers
  • Maintained neck positions (staring at the computer for too long)
  • Stress
  • Whiplash/trauma

The first cervical vertebrae which sits below the skull is often the culprit in this type of headache. When it gets misaligned, it causes stress in the muscles in the upper neck. Typically poor posture, stress or some type of trauma, such as a car accident causes the misalignment/stress in the neck.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptom is an annoying, achy pain at the back of the neck, just below the skull. Often times, this achy pain will travel over one of your ears and even ache near the eye. It is often confused for a migraine headache.

  • Dull-achy pain or sharp painshutterstock_110606609
  • Pain on one side of head, over ear, to eye
  • Neck tightness and pain
  • Signs of joint degeneration in neck on x-ray
  • Possible nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light

At Hampton Chiropractic, we utilize the following approach:

  • Specific adjustments to the upper cervical spine utilizing x-rays
  • Stretches/exercises for restoring muscle balance
  • E-stim therapy to relax the muscles at the base of the neck

Honestly, this type of headache responds very well to chiropractic adjustments. Often times, patients notice immediate relief after an adjustment. When the vertebrae becomes misaligned in the upper neck, it creates a pressure in the back of the head. Often times
that pressure builds and starts traveling over the ear to behind the eye. When we adjust the upper cervical spine, we relieve this pressure and allow normal range of motion in the neck.

We follow this up with specific exercises, that you can do at home which help keep the muscles relaxed so that the pain relief lasts longer. Some of the best exercises for cervicogenic headaches include Wall Angels and Brugger’s. While the target of these exercises is the middle and upper back, they both work the trapezius muscle which has attachments at the top of the neck, where cervicogenic headaches occur.


If you’re somebody that constantly experiences tightness in your neck, this is not something you have to live with and is your body’s way of letting you know that something is not moving right. Keep that in mind and don’t let yourself suffer through pain.

If you think you’re suffering from cervicogenic headache, or any headache for that matter, give us a call today and schedule a free consultation with Dr. Hampton, 816-535-5101.