Is Cervicogenic Headache more common than Occipital Neuralgia?

Cervicogenic headache and occipital neuralgia are secondary headache disorders with occipital pain as a key feature.

Generally speaking, the intersection of neurological inputs at specific areas in the nervous system from the neck and the face region is the reason why symptoms from the neck can contribute to the head. In medial terminology, this is referred to as a convergence theory.

The convergence between the upper cervical nociceptive afferents and the trigeminal nociceptive afferents in the trigeminocervical complex shows the relationship between headaches arising from the neck or cervical region.

Even though there is evidence from studies showing the relationship anatomically and physiologically of the neck to the head/face, there is controversy on the cervical (neck) region being a cause of a headache.

Therefore, it is difficult to get exact numbers on prevalence values but from our research, this is the best numbers I have available to you:

Occipital Neuralgia:

The incidence of occipital neuralgia was reported as 1.8% in general population with facial pain in a 2009 study by Koopman et al.

Cervicogenic Headache:

Headache from cervical origin, called cervicogenic headache, is much more common. Studies have shown a prevalence rate of 2.2–4.1% (Sjaastad et al 2008, Knacksteadt et al 2010).

These conditions are not studied as heavily as migraine or other headache disorders, but are common, especially cervicogenic headache. I agree with the results above that cervicogenic headache is much more common than occipital neuraliga and actually have much different clinical characteristics.

Feel free to contact us to see how we can help with your headaches.