There are many possible reasons why the back of your head might hurt. Some of the most common causes include:
- Tension headaches: Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and they can cause pain anywhere on the head, including the back. Tension headaches are often caused by stress, muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, or poor posture.
- Migraines: Migraines are another common type of headache that can cause pain in the back of the head. Migraines are often accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and blurred vision.
- Occipital neuralgia: Occipital neuralgia is a type of nerve pain that can cause sharp, shooting pain in the back of the head and neck. Occipital neuralgia is often caused by compression or irritation of the occipital nerves, which run from the upper spine to the back of the head.
- Cervicogenic headaches: Cervicogenic headaches are caused by problems with the neck, such as muscle tension, arthritis, or whiplash. Cervicogenic headaches often cause pain in the back of the head and neck, as well as stiffness and muscle spasms.
- Exertion headaches: Exertion headaches can occur after strenuous physical activity. Exertion headaches are thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including increased blood flow to the brain and changes in brain chemicals.
- Cluster headaches: Cluster headaches are rare but extremely painful headaches that occur in clusters, or groups. Cluster headaches often cause pain on one side of the head, including the back of the head. Cluster headaches are also accompanied by other symptoms, such as a runny or stuffy nose, a watery eye, and restlessness.
Other possible causes of pain in the back of the head include:
- Medications: Some medications, such as over-the-counter pain relievers and certain blood pressure medications, can cause headaches as a side effect.
- Dehydration: Dehydration can cause a variety of symptoms, including headaches.
- Head injury: A head injury, even a mild one, can cause headaches.
- Sinus infection: A sinus infection can cause pain in the back of the head, especially when you lean forward or bend down.
- Meningitis: Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, which are the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis is a serious medical condition that can cause a variety of symptoms, including headaches, fever, and stiff neck.
If you are experiencing pain in the back of your head, it is important to see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Your doctor can also help you to determine the cause of your headaches and develop a treatment plan.
In the meantime, there are some things you can do to relieve pain in the back of your head, such as:
- Apply heat or ice: Applying heat or ice to the back of your head can help to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Rest: Getting enough rest can also help to relieve headaches.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can be helpful for relieving mild to moderate headaches.
- Massage: Massaging the muscles in your neck and shoulders can help to relieve tension and pressure, which can help to reduce headache pain.
If your headaches are severe or frequent, or if they are accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, stiff neck, or nausea, see a doctor right away.