Open Access

Concepts leading to the definition of the term cervicogenic headache: a historical overview

The Journal of Headache and Pain20056:250

Received: 11 October 2005

Accepted: 3 November 2005

Published: 15 December 2005


The idea that headache may originate from a problem at the neck or cervical spine level has fascinated and stimulated researchers for centuries. Contributions and reports seeking to clarify this issue have multiplied in the past 80 or 90 years. Bärtschi–Rochaix reported what seems to have been the first clinical description of cervicogenic headache, but it was not until 1983 that Sjaastad and his school defined diagnostic criteria for this sydrome. The current, revised International Headache Society Classification (ICHD–II) includes the term cervicogenic headache, but the diagnostic criteria it gives differ from those of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), and also from the most recent Cervicogenic Headache International Study Group (CHISG) definition (1998).

Key words

Cervicogenic headacheHistory of headacheCervical spineAnaesthetic blockade