Back of the headache: these are possible causes

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Back of the headache: these are possible causes

Not always harmless

Back of the headache: these are possible causes

December 9th, 2019, 11:17 am | iw (CF), t-online

Pain in the back of the head is often caused by tension in the neck and back. (Source: Staras / Getty Images)

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Everyone has a headache. They are not always a cause for concern. However, caution should be exercised if they occur in an unusual location, such as the back of the head. The causes for this can be varied. If the symptoms persist, a doctor should be consulted to rule out serious illnesses.

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Causes of back head pain

When a headache is mentioned, in most cases it is a tension headache. Around 90 percent of all people suffer from it at least once in their life. The main causes are tension in the muscles in the back, in the area of ​​the cervical spine or in the neck. Migraines can also manifest as neck pain radiating to the back of the head. But psychological stress can also trigger tension headaches.

Home remedies for headaches

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A massage can help here. Sitting for too long or incorrectly can also trigger headaches; make sure you are moving around and maintaining an upright posture. Grinding your teeth can also lead to headaches, in which case have a special splint made by your dentist.

Strong, stabbing headaches are an alarm signal

If you have a sharp or throbbing headache in the back of your head, you should see a doctor. If the symptoms become unbearable, a trip to a hospital that has a neurological station is also a good idea. However, a medical examination should also be carried out for mild headaches if they persist over a longer period of time.

Back of the headache is an accompanying symptom of many diseases, in this case one speaks of secondary or symptomatic headache. So that the doctor can make a correct diagnosis, the patient should be able to describe exactly when the symptoms began, how they feel – piercing, pulsating or rather oppressive – and whether there are other symptoms with the headache, for example visual disturbances or nausea. A pain diary can be helpful. Make a note of when the pain started, accompanying symptoms, and possible triggers such as food, medication, or stress.

Back of the headache: other causes

Pain in the back of the head also occurs with so-called traumatic injuries. That means: hits or falls on the back of the head are associated with pain and often with a concussion. Headaches are not uncommon after accidents and usually go away after a while. In some cases, however, they can also be an indication of brain damage as a result of the trauma. Have a doctor examine you to rule out bleeding in the brain.

What is Occiptal Neuralgia? Another possible cause of a headache in the back of the head is what is known as occipital neuralgia, which is also sometimes referred to as occipital syndrome. In this disease, the pain is actually limited to the back of the head. Often, the back of the headache is also triggered by a cervical vertebra syndrome (cervicocephaly). The occipital headache also occurs in the context of normal tension headaches, but it is rather rare.

Sex can also cause headaches

Some people experience a headache at the back of their head even after intercourse. In this case, it is called post-coital headache. This is triggered by the exertion during sex and usually only lasts a few minutes. In rare cases, however, it lasts for several days. Especially men suffer from this type of headache.

When pain in the back of the head becomes dangerous

For example, a dangerous condition that involves pain in the back of the head is a particular form of stroke that causes subarachnoid hemorrhage in the brain. During this process, blood enters the space in the head that is filled with cerebrospinal fluid. The pain is extreme and occurs suddenly. Most of the time, the neck stiffens as well, leading to nausea, vomiting and impaired consciousness. If these life-threatening symptoms occur, every minute counts and an emergency doctor must be called immediately. Otherwise permanent brain damage can occur.

Accompanying symptoms such as dizziness, visual disturbances, fever, vomiting or seizures in combination with occipital headache are alarm signals that could hide serious illnesses such as a tumor or meningitis. You shouldn’t waste any time here either and consult a doctor immediately.

treatment from back of the headache

If tension is the cause of back headaches, drug treatment is not necessary. A quarter-hour massage with ten percent peppermint oil on the temples, crown and neck has a similar relieving effect on headaches as classic headache medication (paracetamol or ibuprofen). Warmth, in particular, helps loosen tense and cramped muscles around the head. Tip: Treat yourself to a bath, a hot water bottle, a visit to the sauna or moist and hot compresses for the neck and forehead area.

For some patients, however, the opposite helps: cold. Cold foot baths and compresses can work wonders for mild, occasional pain. To prevent tension, exercises to strengthen the muscles should be performed. Various relaxation techniques such as autogenic training are also recommended.

  • Painful duo:Neck pain and headache often occur together
  • Not always harmless:What are the causes?
  • A ring of pain:Tension headaches – causes and therapy
  • Take symptoms seriously:Headache after sex is an important warning sign
  • Harmless or dangerous:Causes of stinging in the head
  • Pressure in the head:Causes and Treatment of Back Headache

Painkiller for headaches

Such home remedies rarely help migraine sufferers. Instead of tormenting yourself for a long time with the back of the headache, you can, after consulting your doctor, test which drug works best for you. Many swear by the well-known active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) for headaches. Since this is often poorly tolerated, paracetamol or 400 to 600 milligrams of ibuprofen can be taken as an alternative.

Important NOTE: Under no circumstances does the information replace professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online.de cannot and must not be used to make independent diagnoses or to start treatments.

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