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What Causes Pain In The Back Of Your Head

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

If you have neck pain and headaches, figuring out what is causing the pain can help you get relief. At DISC, our team of specialists at practices throughout the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area can diagnose your condition. We can then offer you relief tips for headaches caused by neck pain.

We always recommend the least invasive options first. You might see improvement with conservative solutions like heat and cold, relaxation techniques or medication. If your neck pain and headaches continue, surgery might be the best option to help you get the relief you want. To learn more, contact DISC today to schedule an appointment.

Three Common Causes Of Pain In The Back Of The Head At The Base Of The Skull

The area at the back of your head and at the base of your skull is called the occipital region. Often, problems in the neck cause pain to radiate into this region of your head. A few of the issues that commonly trigger pain in the occipital region include:

  • Suboccipital muscle tension The suboccipital muscles connect the top of your neck to the base of your skull. Craning your head forward for long periods of time can leave these muscles tense and sore. The pain can also travel into the back of your head and down your neck.
  • Herniated cervical discs Spinal discs help separate and cushion your vertebrae. This includes the vertebrae in your cervical spine or neck. Trauma or repetitive strain can cause damage to the outer covering of a disc at the top of your neck. As a result, the discs inner material can poke out or herniate. This can irritate and inflame soft tissue and nerves near the herniated disc.
  • Occipital neuralgia This nerve condition occurs when the occipital nerves that run through your scalp are irritated or damaged. Occipital neuralgia is often caused by muscle or nerve problems in your neck. The most common symptom of this issue is burning or shocking pains that run from the base of the skull into one or both sides of the head.

Cervicogenic Causes Of Pressure On Back Of The Head

This is a headache or pressure in head, which is caused due to cervical causes. Such pressure is often exerted when excessive or persistent pressure is exerted on the neck or spine, trauma to or disorders of the spine. Initially the pain or the pressure on back of the head might be recurring, but after some point of time it can become constant. One of the major reasons of this medical condition is the musculoskeletal dysfunction. The causes of this medical condition include:

  • Pain that can be caused due to neck movement.
  • Awkward position of neck.
  • Restricted motion of the neck, can be one of the prevalent reasons of pressure on back of your head.
  • In such cases, the pressure in the back of the head is basically aggravated due to neck positions or movements. It may also be associated with vertigo or a dizzy feeling in some cases. Hence, people suffering from such conditions should take extra caution for the neck, use neck collar, practice physiotherapy, take appropriate medications like muscle relaxants etc. according to their medical advice.

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    How Does A Dural Tear Occur

    A tear in the dura may occur after a spinal tap or following spinal or epidural anesthesia.

    A low-pressure headache is felt when sitting or standing up and is relieved within 20 to 30 minutes of lying flat. It’s usually also worsened when coughing, sneezing, or exercising.

    Symptoms that may accompany a low-pressure headache include:

    Causes Of Pain In The Back Of The Head

    Causes of Headache In The Back Of Head

    Muscle tension and fatigue Sitting in one position for long periods of time can lead to sharp pain in the back of your head. Relieve this discomfort by stretching throughout the day and changing positions if possible, as well as trying to lower your stress level.

    Migraine Worse than your average headache, migraines can be severe and debilitating for those who are unfortunate enough to suffer from them, and can cause nausea and vision disturbances. Migraines are characterized by throbbing and shooting head pain in the back of the head.

    Tension headaches If you are experiencing pain on the right side of the back of your head, it may be due to a tension headache. These headaches are characterized by a dull pain that feels like pressure around the back and side of your head.

    Sex and exercise Vigorous exercise and sex can result in what physicians refer to as an orgasmic headache, usually characterized by pain in the back of the head due to constricting blood vessels.

    Occipital neuralgia An injury to the occipital nerves that run from the top of the spinal cord to the base of your neck can cause symptoms similar to a migraine, such as sharp pains in the back of the neck and head, and at the base of your skull.

    Trigeminal neuralgia Another cause of pain on the right side of the back of the head. Trigeminal neuralgia is cause by blood vessels compressing your trigeminal nerve, and can result in burning face pain as well as pain in the back of the head.

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    How Can Physical Therapy Treat The Pain In Your Occipital Region

    Identifying the cause of the pain in the back of your head at the base of your skull isnt the only thing physical therapists can do. They can also treat your pain. Your therapist will use an extensive knowledge of the human musculoskeletal system to develop a treatment plan for you. Such a plan may include therapy techniques like:

    Sharp Pain In The Back Of Head After Sex

    Many people joke about the connection of headaches and sexual activity. However, any kind of sexual activity can cause a dull pain in the back of your head and neck that increases with sexual excitement.

    The British Journal of Medical Practitioners describes this condition as headaches associated with sexual activity .13 Although HSA is harmless, it can have a negative impact on both partners because of a fear that sex will lead to a severe headache.

    If you suffer from headaches during sex, open communication between you and your partner can help to alleviate any fears associated with headaches and sexual activity. Sometimes, taking a more passive role can help prevent headaches during sex.

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    Neck Pain And Headaches In Back Of Head

    by Dr. James J. Dalfino | Sep 9, 2021 | Neck Pain |

    Neck pain is one of the most common occurrences among US adults. It can lead to a stiff neck and excruciating pain. Often, neck pain induces headaches in the back of the head. In this blog post, we will discuss Neck Pain and Headaches In Back Of Head in depth.

    Most of the time, this headache is confused with a normal headache or migraine.

    Its not the same at all and the severity of neck pain can lead to headaches in the back of head.

    According to a survey, nearly 30% of American adults have neck pain in a year, and more than 50% of adults have some form of neck pain in their lifetime. A variety of reasons can cause neck and head pain. In many situations, this pain can be brought by pain in other parts of the body or accompanied by other occurrences.

    However, some of the most common reasons for neck pain and headaches are-

    • Arthritis
    • Nerve Compression

    How To Eliminate Your Tension Headache

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

    Ensure you are up to date with you eye examinations.

    Whether that is having your first eye examination or booking in for a review if it has been over two years since youve last been for one.

    Check your workstation!

    You should not be slouching into your chair or leaning forward to reach the screen. Your feet should be flat on the ground with a 90-degree angle from your hips to your knees. You should aim to rest your elbows on the armrests or table and aim to keep your back straight and supported. If in doubt, ask for a desk assessmentfrom your employer.

    Keep your neck and head as mobile as possible

    Try and take regular breaks as this encourages you to naturally move your head and spine. This also prevents muscles from tightening up.

    Introduce yoga or meditation

    These activities can help rid any tension headaches which may be caused by stressed.

    In addition to this, adopt a lifestyle which is beneficial to your health. This includes getting enough sleep, not smoking, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. Finally, remember to drink plenty of water and limit your alcohol, caffeine, and sugar intake.

    Reach out for help

    If youre experiencing a niggling pain that wont go away, then book in to see one of our expert Bodyset physiotherapists. Were here to help you get the best out of your body so you can get back to doing more of what you love.

    Not sure you need to see a physiotherapist for a full assessment?

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    When To Consult A Doctor

    A sharp, throbbing pain in the back of your head is usually harmless and can be managed well. However, as Ive mentioned in this article, headaches and neck pain can be symptoms of more serious health conditions.

    However, you may ask: when should I call a doctor if I have a pain in the back of my head?The National Headache Foundation recommends visiting a healthcare professional if you have any of the following conditions:19

    • Frequent headaches that are severe and come on quickly
    • Your headaches are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, confusion, fever, slurred speech, stiff neck, vision loss, frequent bouts of diarrhea.
    • You have constant throbbing pains in your head that get worse or wont stop.
    • Headaches are affecting your daily activities.
    • You have a headache following a head injury.
    • You have to take pain-relief medication more than 2 days a week.
    • The symptoms of your migraine headaches change.

    Read these related articles:

    Causes You Need To Understand

    1. Cervicogenic headache is a pain experienced by all age groups but is most commonly found in older people as it is caused by posture and neck injuries to the neck joints. The pain can be pinpointed to one side of the head and radiate to the forehead.

    2. Vertebral artery dissection is very similar to the common cervicogenic headache yet is distinguished by its quick and very painful onset. The typical sufferer is a young person with a recent neck or head injury. The condition has also been linked to strokes in patients less than 45 years of age.

    3. Infectious meningitis gives pain from damaged nerves caused by the infection. While pain in back of head and a stiff neck are a result, a high fever significantly signals the infection.

    4. Subarachnoid hemorrhage is present in nearly 10% of severe pain of back of head patients who also complain of confusion, nausea, stiff neck and vision difficulties. It is caused by bleeding in and around the brain and is often described as the most painful condition.

    5. Parkinsons Disease patients are known to experience pain in back of head. In fact, around one-third of those living with the condition report pain in the head and neck, according to New Health Guide.

    6. Hyperthyroidism, or thyrotoxicosis, has pain in back of head as a common symptom. It is also known as Graves disease.

    7. Trapped nerves are often associated with the onset of pain in back of head due to nerve damage by a compression.

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    Nonsurgical Options For Occipital Neuralgia

    Medications and a set of three steroid injections, with or without botulinum toxin, can “calm down” the overactive nerves. Some patients respond well to non-invasive therapy and may not require surgery however, some patients do not get relief and may eventually require surgical treatment.

    There are other treatment options such as burning the nerve with a radio-wave probe or eliminating the nerve with a small dose of toxin. However, these are not always the best choice since either treatment can permanently deaden the nerve, resulting in scalp numbness.

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    What Causes Ice Pick Headaches

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    Experts arent sure why some people get ice pick headaches. All types of headaches have primary and secondary causes:

    • Primary headache: People with primary ice pick headaches experience head pain without other symptoms. There isnt an underlying condition causing the pain.
    • Secondary headache: A health condition, such as shingles, meningioma or multiple sclerosis, causes the ice pick headache along with other symptoms.

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    What Do Brain Tumour Headaches Feel Like

    Headaches associated with brain tumours:

    • can be throbbing or a dull ache, depending on where they are in the brain
    • occur intermittently starting gradually, but fading over a few hours
    • tend to get worse over time
    • can resemble common migraine or tension-type headaches.

    Other types of headaches

    Other types of headaches include:

    • tension headaches

    For more information about these and other headache types, see the National Headache Foundation’s Complete Headache Chart.

    What Causes A Head Injury

    There are several causes of head injuries. You may get injured playing a sport or activity. Certain jobs, such as construction, contain risk of a head injury. Children or elderly people may fall around the house and get hurt. Severe head injuries are most likely to occur in a car, motorcycle, or bicycle wreck.

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    Headache Help In Denver Co

    If youre tired of dealing with chronic headaches and headache pain or reaching for the pill bottle every time you have a headache, I can help. At Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic, we pride ourselves in making both new and existing patients feel supremely comfortable and welcome.

    to schedule an appointment so we can talk about addressing your unique headache symptoms through a personalized treatment plan. I look forward to working with you and helping you say goodbye to your headaches.

    How Do You Diagnose A Positional Headache

    What Causes A Sharp Pain In The Back Of Your Head

    When diagnosing the causes of an orthostatic headache, your doctor will likely seek to rule out a CSF leak or POTS before looking into other sources of your pain. Be sure to describe to your doctor any positions or activities that make the pain go away, as these can be key clues in coming to a diagnosis.

    To test for a CSF leak and determine the location and severity of the leak, several different tests can be performed, although the most accurate non-invasive test is an MRI scan of the brain.

    If there is difficulty identifying the exact location of the leak, your doctor may perform an additional test called a CT cisternogram. This requires a spinal tap that injects a contrast liquid into the spinal fluid. Its followed by a CT scan, which allows doctors to pinpoint the source of the leak and its drainage pathway.

    If a CSF leak is not the cause, your doctor may next test for POTS. To diagnose this, your doctor may ask you to participate in a standing test or a tilt table test. Both tests are intended to see if the symptoms of POTS are triggered by your body position.

    In a standing test, youll be asked to stand upright for 30 minutes, while your doctor monitors your heart rate and blood pressure. In a tilt test, you will lie strapped to a horizontal exam table that tilts your body at varying angles, again while heart rate and blood pressure are closely monitored to see if there is a significant increase.

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    Surgical Options For Occipital Neuralgia

    Surgical options include decompression of the greater occipital nerves along their course, called occipital release surgery.

    In this outpatient procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in the back of the neck to expose the greater occipital nerves and release them from the surrounding connective tissue and muscles that may be compressing them. The surgeon can address other nerves that may be contributing to the problem, such as the lesser occipital nerves and the dorsal occipital nerves.

    The surgery generally takes around two or three hours and is performed with the patient asleep under general anesthesia. Patients are able to go home the same day, and full recovery is generally expected within one or two weeks.

    In some cases, occipital release surgery only works temporarily, and the pain returns. Further surgery to cut the greater occipital nerves can be performed after about a year, however, this procedure is regarded as a last resort since it would result in permanent scalp numbness.

    What Are The Different Types Of Headaches Occurring At The Back Of The Head

    There are a number of different causes that can lead to headaches occurring at the back of the head. Below are a few types of these headaches:

    Tension headaches

    • Tension headaches are the most common cause of pain in the back of the head. They can last for 30 minutes to seven days.
    • Severe stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, skipping meals, poor body posture, or not drinking enough water may cause tension headaches.
    • Patients usually feel tightening around the back or front of the head pain may range from dull to severe.
    • Treatment includes painkillers, lifestyle modifications, massage, and sometimes relaxing techniques . However, frequent tension headaches need a doctors supervision for further treatment.

    Medication overuse or rebound headache

    • Medication overuse headaches may develop if a person uses too many painkillers.
    • Symptoms include persistent headaches with severe pain. Usually, headaches restart after stopping pain killers. Other symptoms include nausea, anxiety, irritability, tiredness, restlessness, concentrating difficulty, memory loss, and sometimes even depression.
    • The best treatment is often to stop taking pain relief medication entirely. Headaches become worse at first but will quickly resolve. In more severe cases, people should see a doctor. An individual may need physical or behavioral therapy to break the habit of using pain relief medication.

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