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The Prevalence of Cervicogenic Headache in a Random Population Sample of 20–59 Year Olds

Nilsson, Niels, DC, MD


Study Design From a random population sample, those experiencing frequent headaches were identified. They were examined to determine how many fulfilled the 1990 international Headache Society classification criteria for cervicogenic headache.

Objective To estimate the prevalence of cervicogenic headache in the general population and in the group experiencing frequent headaches.

Summary of Background Data Only with the publication of the 1990 headache classification criteria did a generally accepted clinical definition of cervicogenic headache emerge. The prevaience of this form of headache has been estimated only in two highly selected in-clinic patient populations. No data exist regading the prevalence in representative unselected populations.

Methods. A short questionnaire on headaches was mailed to 826 randomly selected residents of a midsized Danish town. A group of 57 individuale in the age range 20–59 years who reported having headache episodes on 5 or more days in the previous month were identified. Forty-five of the 57 were eventually interviewed and examined with respect to the IHS criteria for cervicogenic headache (the radiological criteria were omitted on ethical grounds).

Results Of the 45 persons examined, eight fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for cervicogenic headache, equivalent to a prevalence in the headache group of 17.8% (95% confidence interval = 8%-32%).

Conclusions Cervicogenic headache appears to be a relatively common form of headache, similar to migraine in prevaience.

Department of Clinical Science, Faculty of Health Science, University of Odense, Denmark

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.