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Can A Migraine Be In The Back Of Your Head

Neck Massage For Headache Pain Relief

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

One way to get rid of knots in the neck at the base of your skull is to give your neck a gentle massage. Massaging the back of your head, neck, and shoulders is a great way to ease the pain of a pinched cervical nerve.

According to Dr. William H. Blahd on WebMD, massage helps to release tension in your neck and shoulders to ease upper neck and lower head pain. Massaging also helps to increase blood flow to the painful area to get rid of pain quickly.17

How to massage the back of your neck with essential oils:

  • Combine 5 drops of eucalyptus oil, 5 drops lavender oil, and 3 drops peppermint oil with 1 oz. of olive oil or sweet almond oil. Mix thoroughly.
  • Put some oil on your fingertips and massage the base of your skull and base of your neck for a few minutes to release neck tension headaches.
  • Use the essential oils for headaches 2 times a day to relieve pain at the base of your neck.
  • How Long Will My Migraine Attack Last

    The duration of a migraine attack usually depends on what type of migraine you have and how you treat your symptoms. These tips can help to shorten it.

    An estimated 39 million Americans have migraine, with symptoms that can range from mild to severe, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Migraine attacks previously were thought to be a result of abnormal dilation of blood vessels in the brain, but scientists now believe that the cause may be more complex and involve inherited differences in brain chemistry.

    Women are much more likely than men to have migraine, as are people with a family history of migraine, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.

    But not all migraine attacks are alike, and not everyone has the same migraine symptoms, says neurologist Alexander Mauskop, MD, a founder and director of the New York Headache Center in Manhattan and White Plains, New York.

    The length of time a migraine attack lasts can vary, too. The National Headache Foundation says most migraine attacks last 4 to 72 hours. But some people have migraines for a shorter time and some people have them for longer its very individual, Dr. Mauskop says.

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    Other Symptoms Of An Irritated Vagus Nerve

    Here we see the mid-neck . Note that the vagus nerve is right behind the Sternocleidomastoid muscle and right in front of the scalenes. What are some of the tightest muscles in the necks of patients who have had injuries like whiplash? The SCM and the scalenes. Hence, irritation of the vagus nerve by these structures may explain many of the symptoms we see in these patients. In addition, remember that the vagus nerve is the wanderer, so it goes lots of other places where it can get irritated or have pressure placed on it. Lets explore some of those.

    If we go back to the top, where the vagus nerve comes out of the skull, we can see why these same symptoms commonly plague patients with craniocervical instability . In the image to the right, youre looking at the skull base as the dotted lines and the two circles are holes in the skull where the different nerves exit. The Foramen magnum is the big hole at the bottom of the skull where the spinal cord and nerves exit. The Jugular Foramen is another smaller hole where the spinal accessory nerve and the vagus nerve come out.

    In CCI patients, the skull is not stable on the neck. So these nerves are bound to get yanked around more, leading to irritation and vagus nerve dysfunction. In addition, the spinal accessory nerve also goes to the SCM and upper trap muscles, which are also muscles that are commonly tight in these patients. Meaning an irritated nerve can cause a tight and irritated muscle.


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    What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

    • Will my child grow out of their migraines?
    • What medications do you recommend for me?
    • What should I change about my lifestyle to prevent my migraine headaches?
    • Should I get tested?
    • What type of migraine do I have?
    • What can my friends and family do to help?
    • Are my migraines considered chronic?

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Migraine headaches can be devastating and make it impossible to go to work, school or experience other daily activities. Fortunately, there are some ways to possibly prevent a migraine and other ways to help you manage and endure the symptoms. Work with your healthcare provider to keep migraines from ruling your life.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2021.


    The Anatomy Of Your Upper Spine

    Tension Headaches

    The upper part of your spine that joins to the base of your skull is called the cervical spine. Dr. Robert E. Windsor, who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation, says that the cervical spine consists of 7 vertebrae. These are referred to as C1 to C7 vertebrae. The first vertebra is called the atlas and upon which the base of the skull rests.1

    The cervical spinal vertebrae are also responsible for most of the movement of your neck and head. Dr. Windsor says that the cervical spine is the most mobile part of your spine.

    Intervertebral discs are located between each vertebra and these act as shock absorbers. These are round, jelly-like discs that prevent inflammation and pain in the back of your neck.

    The Encyclopaedia Britannica says that you also have nerves and muscles in the back of your neck. The muscles join the top of your neck to the base of your skull. The trapezius muscles also attach your neck to your scapula . There is also a system of nerves in the back of your neck, some of which form part of the spinal cord.2

    Headaches at the base of your skull can occur if any of the discs between the vertebrae rupture or you get pinched nerves in your neck.

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    Natural Remedy For Migraine Long Term Solution #6 Fish Oiland Vitamin D

    Fish oil and vitamin D are two “tried and tested” homeremedies for migraine headaches that have been shown to help tremendously with this condition. Fish oil helps to prevent theconstriction of blood vessels and the subsequent actions in the head that leadto migraines. Vitamin D reduces inflammation , which is anothercommon trigger for migraine attacks. One study presented at the American Headache Society annual meetingback in 2008 found that almost half of all chronic migraine sufferers have verylow levels of vitamin D. 6

    The recommended dosage of fish oil for migraines is around 10,000 mg’s daily taken in divided doses. For vitamin D, itsworth taking the time to get your vitamin D levels checked first to see if theyare low. Adults need between 4000-8000 IU’s every day according to vitamin D expert, Dr Cedric Garland, so if you do have a vitamin Ddeficiency, supplementation and regular sun exposure will be required. 7 Ofcourse, fish oil also contains vitamin D so taking this will help bring your levelsback up as well. You can easily purchase fish oil and vitamin D3 supplements from just about anywhere these days. Just make sure you go with a reputable brand and stay away fromthe cheaper varieties.

    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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    Pressure In The Back Of Head Caused Due To Stress

    Pressure in the back of head can be at times experienced due to tension, because of which muscles in the neck and scalp get tensed and contracted. Such a pressure or pain might last from 20 minutes to 6 hours. Some of the contributing factors of this condition are stress, bad posture, depression, anxiety etc. Individuals suffering from this might have to face following symptoms:

  • Feeling of pressure or hatband tightness at the back of head.
  • Pain at the temples.
  • Dull or squeezing pains.
  • If this condition occurs more than 15 days a month during six months it is termed as chronic, else it is considered as episodic. The chronic disease might be treated with an antidepressant, while in case episodic situations, it is recommended that use of analgesics might suffice. Along with it, regular exercise, daily massage or other techniques can relieve of the pressure in the back of the head.

    What Causes Tension Headaches

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

    At the base of the skull, there is a group of muscles called the suboccipital muscles. They can cause headache pain for many people. These four pairs of muscles are responsible for subtle movements between the skull and first and second vertebrae in the neck.

    The suboccipital muscles may become tense and tender due to the following:

    • Eye strain
    • Grinding teeth
    • Trauma

    Pain from the suboccipital muscles commonly feels like a band wrapping around the head. Also, tension in these muscles may cause compression of a nerve that exits the base of the skull. This can trigger pain that wraps over the head and above the eyes.

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    Severe Headache Back Of Head

    A severe headache may be a sing of various health problems:

    • Meningitis: The headache is sudden and severe. It starts at the back of the head. It is usually accompanied by symptoms such as fever, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, nausea and sometimes vomiting. You should seek emergency medical care immediately.
    • Brain aneurysm: Severe and sudden headache
    • Vertebral artery dissection: Severe and sudden headache in the back of the head after injury. It causes speech problems and other neurological problems. Seek urgent medical attention.

    Causes Of Neck Pain With Headache

    As cervicogenic headaches shoot from troubles in the neck, varied conditions may trigger this kind of pain. These conditions consist of degenerative health problems such as osteoarthritis, a whiplash injury, or a troubled disc in the neck. Some kinds of sports and a fall can even lead to injuries of the neck and lead to such headaches.

    Neck pain with headaches may even happen based on the position of how you stand or sit. A driver, hairstylist, carpenter, or someone who is seated at a table may unintentionally push the chin frontward which also moves the head out in front of the body and this forward movement is termed as cervical protraction. Standing or sitting in this stature for long durations can pressurize or lead to stress on the neck and skulls base leading to a headache with neck pain.

    Sleeping in a discomfited posture like with your head too far away to the back or front and off to one particular side can even trigger these kinds of headaches. It can also happen when one sleeps in a chair or sits in bed.

    A pinched or compressed nerve near or in the neck is also one cause of this type of headache.

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    Is There Really A Sinus Migraine

    Technically, the answer is no. There are migraines and there are sinus headaches. They are not the same, but some people have coined the phrase sinus migraine to make the distinction that their migraines seem to have a sinus component. They may be familiar enough with migraines that they know the typical symptoms, so they rule it out because their headaches dont fit that mold. The truth is, there are many different types of migraines and headaches and they often have very similar, if not identical, symptoms.

    Dr. Ailani explains, Migraine pain can be located in the temples or back of the head, but often is in or around the eye and can, on occasion, be located under the eye, around the nose, and into the jaw. The reason for this is that the nerve that causes facial sensation and sinus sensation and the one that also causes facial and sinus pain, are one and the same, the trigeminal nerve.

    She continues, When this nerve is turned on, you can experience pain- which can be all different types such as pulsating, throbbing, pressure, searing, jabbing, tingling, and burning, anywhere in your head and face. This nerve also connects to other nerves at the back of the neck and in the sinuses. When one nerve decides to be turned on, other connected nerves can follow- where there is a party, all like to join in!

    Causes Of Neck Pain And Migraine

    Causes of Headache In The Back Of Head

    Tightness and pain in the muscles and joints of your neck are usually indications of stress, either physical or emotional, poor posture or another medical condition. Some migraines start in the neck or the base of your skull, and patients often experience occipital neuralgia, which is a severe, throbbing pain in the upper neck area or behind the ears, usually on one side of the head.

    Posture problems can be related to the way you stand, walk, hold your shoulders or the type of work you do and the location. People who work at a desk for long hours could be particularly likely to develop posture issues affecting their neck. Posture is recognized as being a primary cause of tension headaches, but it sometimes gets insufficient attention from the migraine community.

    Age-related wear and tear affecting the joints in your neck could also cause neck pain, resulting in stimulation of the nerves in the neck that extend into your head. Any dysfunction of the neck joints could cause pain that travels upwards into the head, resulting in migraine in patients prone to attacks. The joints most commonly involved are those in your upper neck, which are the Atlanto-occipital joint, Atlanto-axial joint and the C2/C3 cervical spine joints. Pain in these areas can be either a cause of your migraine, or the result of it.

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    Symptoms Of A Migraine

    Migraines can vary from person to person and even from attack to attack. There are a wide range of migraine symptoms, but the most common include:

    • Head pain, often over one eye or on one or both sides
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Ear pain
    • Coughing

    To further compound the confusion between these two conditions, even treatment options are similar. Many people are very surprised to discover that sinus medications and treatments relieve their migraine pain. Dr. Ailani explains:

    Migraine can improve when using products like Sudafed or Advil cold/sinus. These medications work to reduce some of the chemicals that are elevated during a migraine, so dont be fooled into thinking that if you feel better with Sudafed, it is a sinus issue. Overuse of these medications can lead to more headaches, so if you find yourself using these medications more than 2-3 days a week, seek medical attention for an appropriate diagnosis.

    A diagnosis of either a migraine or a sinus headache is the first step in finding treatment that works.

    Talking To Your Doctor About Your Headaches

    Your search for a migraine diagnosis and relief from your headaches usually begins with your primary care provider. He or she may send you to several specialists before you get answers, or you may go directly to a headache specialist or neurologist. In other words, you may find that you are repeating yourself to each new doctor. Dont let this discourage you. Sometimes it takes a little digging and searching to get answers, but it is worth it. Create your own headache file with notes and documentation from doctors visits and tests as well as your migraine diary.

    Dr. Ailani has this advice: Keep track of your headaches, write down when they happen, how long they last, and what symptoms come with the headache.

    She also recommends noting specific characteristics of your headache or migraine by considering these questions:

    • Do you prefer to be in the dark, or in a quiet area with a headache?
    • Do you find your stomach gets upset and smells bother you?
    • Would you prefer to sleep if you could?
    • Do your headaches last several hours or several days?
    • Have your parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, grandparents, and cousins ever had headaches? Migraines tend to run in families, but most families dont discuss this.
    • What have you tried for your headaches? What works or does not work?
    • How have your headaches changed over time?

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    When To Worry About Neck Pain With A Headache

    Usually, theres nothing to worry but at times when you notice these conditions immediately consult your doctor.

    • Having shoulder and neck pain with headache or pain that extends to the lower back.
    • The presence of the condition for more than 2 weeks.
    • When the condition is due to the result of an injury.
    • Eye pain is a combination of headache and neck pain.
    • Slurred speech and blur vision.

    New Daily Persistent Headache

    ANXIETY and TENSION HEADACHES – Explained & How You find Relief –

    Symptoms: Best described as the rapid development of unrelenting headache. Typically presents in a person with no past history of headache.

    Precipitating Factors: Does not evolve from migraine or episodic tension-type headache. It begins as a new headache and may be the result of a viral infection.

    Treatment: Can resolve on its own within several months. Other cases persist and are more refractory.

    Prevention: Does not respond to traditional options, but anti-seizure medications, Topamax, or Neurontine can be used.

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