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A11.2.4 Headache attributed to upper cervical radiculopathy

Diagnostic criteria:
  1. Head and/or neck pain fulfilling criterion C
  2. Clinical, electrodiagnostic or radiological evidence of a C2 or C3 radiculopathy
  3. Evidence of causation demonstrated by both of the following:
    1. at least two of the following:
      • a) pain has developed in temporal relation to onset of the radiculopathy, or led to its discovery
      • b) pain has significantly improved or significantly worsened in parallel with improvement in or worsening of the radiculopathy
      • c) pain is temporarily abolished by local anaesthesia of the relevant nerve root
    2. headache is ipsilateral to the radiculopathy
  4. Not better accounted for by another ICHD-3 diagnosis.

Pain is usually posterior but may radiate to more anterior regions. Often there are lancinations of pain in one of the areas subserved by the upper cervical roots on one or both sides, generally in the occipital, retroauricular or upper posterior cervical regions.