What Causes Headaches in Back of Head?

Headache in Back of Head

Headaches that occur at the back of the head can have various causes, ranging from tension-related issues to more serious medical conditions. Identifying the underlying cause of headaches can help determine the appropriate treatment approach. Here are some common causes of headaches at the back of the head:

  • Tension-Type Headaches: These are the most common type of headache and are often caused by muscle tension and stress. They can cause a dull, achy pain that is typically felt on both sides of the head, including the back.
  • Cervicogenic Headaches: These headaches originate from issues in the neck or upper spine. Poor posture, muscle imbalances, and problems with the cervical vertebrae can lead to pain that radiates to the back of the head.
  • Migraines: Migraine headaches can cause pain on one side of the head, but the pain can sometimes be felt at the back of the head. Migraines are often accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances.
  • Occipital Neuralgia: This condition involves irritation or inflammation of the occipital nerves, which run up the back of the head. It can cause sharp, shooting pain that originates at the base of the skull and radiates to the back of the head.
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): Elevated blood pressure can cause headaches, and the pain might be felt at the back of the head.
  • Cluster Headaches: These are severe, recurring headaches that occur in clusters over a period of time. They can cause intense pain, often centered around one eye, but the pain can radiate to the back of the head.
  • Sinus Headaches: Infections or congestion in the sinuses can lead to pain in the forehead and the back of the head.
  • Cervical Spine Issues: Herniated discs, arthritis, or other problems in the cervical spine can lead to headaches that radiate to the back of the head.
  • TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorders: Issues with the jaw joint can cause referred pain to the back of the head.
  • Dehydration or Low Blood Sugar: Dehydration and low blood sugar levels can trigger headaches, and the pain might be felt at the back of the head.
  • Eye Strain: Prolonged periods of reading, using electronic devices, or focusing on nearby objects can strain the muscles in and around the eyes, leading to headaches that radiate to the back of the head.
  • Tumor or Intracranial Pressure: While relatively rare, tumors or increased intracranial pressure can cause headaches at the back of the head.

If you’re experiencing persistent or severe headaches, especially if they’re accompanied by other symptoms such as changes in vision, neurological symptoms, vomiting, or confusion, it’s important to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can help diagnose the underlying cause of the headaches and recommend appropriate treatment options.

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