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Can Migraines Cause Pain In Back Of Head

Train Yourself To Relax Every Day

What causes headaches and migraines where the pain is at the back of your head?

Each and every day, I practice relaxation/meditation/self-hypnosis, often with the guidance of recordings. I do this twice a day, late morning and late afternoon or early evening, for roughly 20 to 25 minutes each time.

I find this rejuvenating, and I think it not only reduces stress and gives me peace in the moment, but also is training me to be able to relax and also sleep more consciously and quickly when I need to as inevitable expected and unexpected stresses arise.

Who Gets Migraines What Are The Risk Factors

Its difficult to predict who may get a migraine and who may not, but there are risk factors that may make you more vulnerable. These risk factors include:

  • Genetics: Up to 80% of people who get migraine headaches have a first-degree relative with the disease.
  • Gender. Migraine headaches happen to women more than men, especially women between the ages of 15 and 55. Its likely more common in women because of the influence of hormones.
  • Stress level. You may get migraines more often if youre high-stress. Stress can trigger a migraine.

Immediate Action Required: Phone 999 If:

  • your headache occurs suddenly and is very severe it may feel like a blinding pain
  • your headache occurs after a severe head injury

You have an extremely painful headache and:

  • slurred speech or memory loss
  • a very high temperature, feel hot and shivery, and have a stiff neck or a rash
  • drowsiness or confusion
  • severe pain and redness in one of your eyes

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What These Findings Mean For People With Migraine

The study found that migraine of this nature does not necessarily indicate that an individual has problems with their neck muscles, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue, or bones .

Patients with migraine often see Dr. Halker Singh because of neck pain. In these cases, she looks at the patients neck, checking for range of motion and sensitivity. She also asks detailed questions about their neck symptoms before creating an individualized care plan. She says the patient should always be given a unique treatment plan because while most of the time it is still a single problem, which is migraine, sometimes its not.

Dr. Singh finds that typically, by using preventive or acute treatments, her patients can reduce their migraine attacks. They also find that their neck pain improves. She has research to support the relationship between neck pain and migraine. She sees the power in having that proof. Most of the time, the neck pain ends up being part of the migraine, she says. Just explaining to people that thats whats going on, that neck pain is part of the migraine, can be really empowering.

The American Migraine Foundation is committed to improving the lives of those living with this debilitating disease. For more of the latest news and information on migraine, visit the AMF Resource Library. For help finding a healthcare provider, check out our Find a Doctor tool. Together, we are as relentless as migraine.

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Amf Spoke To Medical News Today About Common Causes Of Pain In The Back Of The Head Such As Migraine Or Medication Overuse Headaches

Causes of Headache In The Back Of Head

Headaches can either be the primary cause of pain or a secondary symptom related to pain in other parts of the body. While some headaches might go away on their own, some have more serious causes, like migraine and medication overuse headache, that should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.

Visit Medical News Today to get an overview of five common types of pain in the back of the head, including tension-type headaches, migraine, medication overuse headache, occipital neuralgia and exercise-induced headache. If youre looking for a diagnosis or a neurologist to help you come up with a treatment plan, visit the American Migraine Foundations directory of healthcare professionals to find a doctor near you.

Reviewed for accuracy by the American Migraine Foundations subject matter experts, headache specialists and medical advisers with deep knowledge and training in headache medicine. to read about our editorial board members.

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When Should I Seek Immediate Help Or Contact My Healthcare Provider

  • You are experiencing the worst headache of my life.
  • You are having neurologic symptoms that youve never had before, including speaking difficulty, balance problems, vision problems, mental confusion, seizures or numbing/tingling sensations.
  • Your headache comes on suddenly.
  • You have a headache after experiencing a head injury.

Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider if:

  • The number or severity of your headaches increase or your headache pattern changes.
  • Your medications no longer seem to be working or youre experiencing new or different side effects.

New Research On Migraine And Neck Pain

New research looks into the relationship between migraine and neck pain. We talked to Dr. Rashmi Halker Singh, a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, to learn more about this connection. Neck pain is a very common symptom of migraine. Its actually much more frequent than nausea, she says. And neck pain is also highly predictive of migraine onset. She explains that about 70 to 80% of people with migraine will have a prodrome phase at the start of their migraine attacks, which acts as a warning that the headache phase of a migraine attack is coming.

People with migraine often visit their doctor for help with their pain. But its not always clear what the root cause is. To look into this issue further, researchers recently studied people with episodic migraine , chronic migraine , people with no migraine at all and people who have only neck pain. What they found is that about 89% of people who have migraine have neck pain, Dr. Halker Singh says. So it was actually just like we thoughtneck pain was commonly associated in people who have migraine. The study also found that people diagnosed with chronic migraine reported the highest neck pain intensity and the most significant neck disability.

During the study, researchers put each person through a set of tests. They used measures typically used to look for structural neck issues, including neck movement range, joint dysfunction and muscle function.

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What Is Cervicogenic Headache

To better understand this research, its helpful to know more about a type of headache that involves neck and head pain called cervicogenic headache. This type of headache starts in the cervical spine . This means head pain arises from problems in the structures of the neck, including the bones, disks and nerves. Its these areas that cause the pain that goes from the neck to the head. Though some mistake it as migraine, cervicogenic headache is something different.

Cervicogenic headache causes pain that affects one side of the head. Occipital neuralgia, which causes pain due to irritation of the occipital nerve, may also cause one-sided head pain, and sometimes these conditions occur together.

The occipital nerve is located in the back of the head and is connected to the cervical spine. The greater occipital nerve runs up the back of the head, and the lesser occipital nerve runs towards the ear.

Cervicogenic headache often involves a reduced range of motion of the neck. As a result, the headache is made a lot worse through certain movements. As people get older, cervicogenic headache becomes more common because we experience changes in the cervical spine with age. Some people may have arthritis in their cervical spine or other neck problems that cause irritation of the occipital nerve.

Pain In The Left Side And Back Of The Head

Heachaches – back of the head // self myofascial release // Part I

Migraine condition

For someone who experiences a migraine condition, the headache caused by migraine can appear in any location. They can be unilateral or side switching, but many people experience them on the left side of the head or the back of the head.

  • watering eyes
  • light or sound sensitivity

Migraine headaches may start on the left side of the head, and then move around the temple to the back of the head.

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What To Expect At Your Office Visit

Your provider will take a medical history and will examine your head, eyes, ears, nose, throat, neck, and nervous system.

Your provider will ask many questions to learn about your headaches. Diagnosis is usually based on your history of symptoms.

Tests may include:

  • Blood tests or a lumbar puncture if you may have an infection
  • Head CT scan or MRI if you have any danger signs or you have been having headaches for a while

What Are Some Migraine Risk Factors And Triggers

Some risk factors make you more likely to get migraine headaches. Other things may trigger a migraine.

Common migraine risk factors include the following:

  • Family history: You are much more likely to have migraines if one or both of your parents had migraines.
  • Sex: Women are more likely than men to have migraines.
  • Age: Most people have their first migraine during adolescence, but migraines can start at any age, usually before age 40.

Common migraine triggers include the following:

  • Food and drink: Certain food and drink may cause migraines. Dehydration and dieting or skipping meals may also trigger migraines.
  • Hormone changes: Women may experience migraines related to their menstrual cycles, to menopause, or to using hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy.
  • Stress: Stress may trigger migraines. Stress includes feeling overwhelmed at home or work. But you can also become stressed by exercising too much or not getting enough sleep.
  • Senses: Loud sounds, bright lights , or strong smells may trigger migraines.
  • Medicines: Certain medicines may trigger migraines. If you think your migraines might be related to your medicine, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a different medicine.
  • Illness: Infections, such as the cold or the flu, may trigger migraines, especially in children.

Foods that may trigger migraines:

  • Aged, canned, cured, or processed meat
  • Aged cheese

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When To Get Medical Advice

You should see a GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms that cannot be managed with occasional use of over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol.

Try not to use the maximum dosage of painkillers on a regular or frequent basis as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time.

You should also make an appointment to see a GP if you have frequent migraines , even if they can be controlled with medicine, as you may benefit from preventative treatment.

You should call 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone you’re with experiences:

  • paralysis or weakness in 1 or both arms or 1 side of the face
  • slurred or garbled speech
  • a sudden agonising headache resulting in a severe pain unlike anything experienced before
  • headache along with a high temperature , stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision and a rash

These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a stroke or meningitis, and should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.

Primary Vs Secondary Headaches

Headache Pain: Define the Pain According to Area and Intensity

There are two major kinds of headaches: primary headaches, which include migraines, cluster headaches, and tension headaches and secondary headaches, which are caused by underlying factors such as medical conditions. Both kinds of headaches are common in cancer patients certain kinds of treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy, can cause headaches.

A red flag that a headache could be indicative of a medical issue is if it is a new or unusual headache for example, one that causes someone to wake up at night, or one that is associated with changes in position. Another red flag is if the headache is accompanied by other symptoms, such as weight loss. Some headaches can be relieved through over-the-counter pain medication, or by having a cup of coffee, for coffee drinkers but if the headache is persistent and doesnt improve like it normally would with typical measures, there could be cause for concern and enough reason to see a primary care physician.

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When To See A Healthcare Provider

Most headaches are not dangerous. There are instances, however, in which your headache warrants a visit or call to your healthcare provider.

These scenarios include:

  • Your headaches are becoming more frequent, severe, or interfering with your daily routine.
  • You have a new headache and are over age 50, are pregnant or just gave birth, or have a history of cancer or a weakened immune system .
  • Your headache is triggered by sneezing, coughing, or exercising.
  • You are experiencing a headache associated with taking pain medication regularly.

When & How To Seek Medical Care

Occipital neuralgia can be very difficult to diagnose because of its similarities with migraines and other headache disorders. Therefore, it is important to seek medical care when you begin feeling unusual, sharp pain in the neck or scalp and the pain is not accompanied by nausea or light sensitivity. Begin by addressing the problem with your primary care physician. They may refer you to a specialist.

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Are Migraines Hereditary

Migraines tend to run in families. As many as four out of five people with migraines have a family history. If one parent has a history of migraines, their child has a 50% chance of having them. If both parents have a history of migraines, the risk jumps to 75%. Again, up to 80% of people with migraines have a first-degree relative with the disease.

Other Types Of Headaches

Sinus Headaches: Causes & Treatment

Doctors have diagnosed hundreds of conditions associated with headaches. Here are just a few:

Medication headaches. Many drugs number headaches among their side effects. And although it seems paradoxical, many medications used to treat headaches can also cause medication overuse headaches or rebound headaches. Migraine sufferers are particularly vulnerable to a vicious cycle of pain leading to more medication, which triggers more pain. If you have frequent headaches and use medication, OTC or prescription, or both, for more than 10 to 15 days a month, you may have medication overuse headaches. The way to find out is to discontinue or taper your medication but always consult your doctor first. A corticosteroid such as prednisone may help control pain during the withdrawal period.

Sinus headaches. Acute sinusitis causes pain over the forehead, around the nose and eyes, over the cheeks, or in the upper teeth. Stooping forward increases the pain. Thick nasal discharge, congestion, and fever pinpoint the problem to the sinuses. When the acute infection resolves, the pain disappears. Sinusitis is not a common cause of chronic or recurrent headaches.

Ice cream headaches. Some people develop sharp, sudden headache pain when they eat anything cold. The pain is over in less than a minute, even if you keep eating. If you are bothered by ice cream headaches, try eating slowly and warming the cold food at the front of your mouth before you swallow it.

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What Are The Treatments For Migraine

There is no absolute cure for migraine. However, lots of treatments are available to help ease the symptoms of a migraine attack.

When a migraine attack occurs, most people find that lying down in a quiet, dark room is helpful. Sleeping can also help. Some people find that their symptoms die down after they have vomited .

Most people affected by migraine will already have tried paracetamol, aspirin and perhaps anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen before they seek advice from their doctor. If ordinary painkillers alone are not relieving your symptoms, your GP might prescribe you a triptan to be taken in addition to over-the-counter painkillers . Triptans are available in different forms to suit individuals , although it is important to note that some people develop short-term side effects when taking triptans. Your doctor may also prescribe you anti-sickness medication. If your situation does not improve after treatment, you might be referred to a specialist migraine clinic.

It is important to avoid taking painkillers on more than two days per week or more than 10 days per month as this can in fact make things worse by triggering medication overuse headaches.

What Are The Four Stages Or Phases Of A Migraine Whats The Timeline

The four stages in chronological order are the prodrome , aura, headache and postdrome. About 30% of people experience symptoms before their headache starts.

The phases are:

  • Prodrome: The first stage lasts a few hours, or it can last days. You may or may not experience it as it may not happen every time. Some know it as the preheadache or premonitory phase.
  • Aura: The aura phase can last as long as 60 minutes or as little as five. Most people dont experience an aura, and some have both the aura and the headache at the same time.
  • Headache: About four hours to 72 hours is how long the headache lasts. The word ache doesnt do the pain justice because sometimes its mild, but usually, its described as drilling, throbbing or you may feel the sensation of an icepick in your head. Typically it starts on one side of your head and then spreads to the other side.
  • Postdrome: The postdrome stage goes on for a day or two. Its often called a migraine hangover and 80% of those who have migraines experience it.
  • It can take about eight to 72 hours to go through the four stages.

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    How Are Headaches Treated

    Provided one of the serious conditions noted above is not present, relatively simple treatment options can be considered. To treat symptoms and prevent the frequency and severity of headaches, physicians may try to identify headache “triggers,” such as stress or certain foods, and recommend treatment options including:

    • preventive medications and treatments.
    • lifestyle changes, including stress management and relaxation techniques.
    • pain-relieving medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Children and adolescents should avoid taking aspirin. In rare cases, aspirin can cause Reye Syndrome, a serious and potentially fatal condition.

    If your headache is the result of an underlying medical condition or injury, your physician will discuss treatment options with you.


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