Why Does The Back Of My Head Hurt
If you have pain in the back of your head, youâd probably enjoy some relief. To find a long-lasting fix, you need to find the root of the problem. From poor posture to different types of specific headaches, the back of your head may hurt due to one of these causes.
Tension headache: This is the most common type of headache. It happens when the muscles in your scalp and neck tighten. This causes pain on the sides and back of your head. Usually itâs a dull pain that doesnât throb.
A tension headache isnât a sign of another medical issue. Still, it can be painful. Some people say that it feels like a vise is squeezing their head.
There are two types of tension headaches:
- Episodic: Itâs often called a stress headache because it comes on when youâre stressed, anxious, hungry, angry, depressed, or tired.
- Chronic: This kind of headache happens more than 15 times a month for at least 3 months. The pain is almost always there, though it may vary over the course of a day. You may also feel a little bit queasy when you have one.
You can treat most tension headaches with over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant, which can also act as a painkiller.
Standing or sitting up straight can help relieve headaches from poor posture. Over-the-counter pain relievers may help as well. In some cases, you may need physical therapy.
What Causes A Migraine
The cause of migraine headaches is complicated and not fully understood. When you have a headache its because specific nerves in your blood vessels send pain signals to your brain. This releases inflammatory substances into the nerves and blood vessels of your head. Its unclear why your nerves do that.
Migraine Is Much More Than Just A Headache
There are different;types of migraine;that involve different symptoms. There are many features or symptoms that are a part of migraine. There are also differences in how severe a symptom might be.
The most common symptoms of a migraine attack include:
- throbbing headache
- sensitivity to light, noise and smell
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Phases Of A Migraine Attack
Prodrome Phase This first phase of migraine can occur hours to days prior to the attack, says Dr. Spears. It typically involves a change in mood and energy; certain cravings or excessive yawning can be a sign of prodrome, he says.
People sometimes confuse these prodrome, or premonitory, symptoms, with migraine triggers. Thats to say, a person who craves chocolate as a prodrome symptom may mistakenly believe that consuming chocolate triggered the migraine attack, according to MigraineAgain.
Aura About 25 to 35 percent of people with migraine have aura, says Spears. The most common aura is a visual change with a kaleidoscope-like phenomenon that can last anywhere from five minutes to an hour but usually much less than an hour, he says. Other aura symptoms may include tingling sensations, numbness, garbled speech, and clumsiness or weakness.
Headache Phase This stage can last 4 to 72 hours, and in most patients, its marked by a headache on one side of the head thats throbbing and pulsating in quality. Typically, the pain is described as moderate to severe, says Spears.
The headache phase is also associated with becoming sensitive to the environment, he adds. Light, sound, and odor sensitivity are common, as are nausea and vomiting, he says.
Migraines Were Destroying My Life Heres What Finally Cured Me
It usually begins with a drowsy fog of fatigue that makes me feel as if I havent slept in days. My eyelids take on the weight of an oil tanker, and a few minutes later the pain arrives. It first settles along either my left or right eyebrow, hovers there until it runs out of space, then begins to spread to the other eyebrow. After that, it invades both temples and finally reaches the top of my head, then ebbs out across my scalp.
The word migraine took root in my vocabulary only after I turned 40.
My usual headaches stopped responding to over-the-counter painkillers and instead began worsening, with lights and sounds. The first time a migraine hit, I barely made it from my car to the bathroom, where I promptly threw up my entire lunch before spending the next seven hours in bed, in a fetal position and unable to open my eyes.
My normal headache seemed to have matured into a migraine the way a baby crocodile grows into a human-snatching beast. From that day on I no longer had regular headaches. I now suffered from migraines.
Migraines affect more than 29 million Americans and are more common among women than men. According to the Office of Womens Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, most sufferers are between the ages of 15 and 55, have a family history of migraines or disabling headaches, and often have such symptoms as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound.
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The Headache Or Main Attack Stage
This stage involves moderate to severe head pain. The headache is typically throbbing and is made worse by movement. It is usually on one side of the head, especially at the start of an attack. However, you can get pain on both sides, or all over the head.
Nausea and vomiting can happen at this stage, and you may feel sensitive to light, sound, smell and movement. Painkillers work best when taken early in this stage.
When To Worry About A Headache
You can take care of many types of headaches by yourself, and your doctor can give you medication to control most of the tougher headaches. But some headaches call for prompt medical care. Here are some warning signs for when you should worry about headaches:
- Headaches that first develop after age 50
- A major change in the pattern of your headaches
- An unusually severe headache
- Head pain that increases with coughing or movement
- Headaches that get steadily worse
- Changes in personality or mental function
- Headaches that are accompanied by fever, stiff neck, confusion, decreased alertness or memory, or neurological symptoms such as visual disturbances, slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or seizures
- Headaches that are accompanied by a painful red eye
- Headaches that are accompanied by pain and tenderness near the temples
- Headaches after a blow to the head
- Headaches that prevent normal daily activities
- Headaches that come on abruptly, especially if they wake you up
- Headaches in patients with cancer or impaired immune systems
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Away With Rebound Headache
When I think about rebound headache and migraine I remember the rather gruesome children’s song, The Cat Came Back by Harry S. Miller. The chorus :
But the cat came back the very next dayThe cat came back, we thought he was a gonerBut the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away
Like the cat that just wouldn’t go away, some headaches keep coming back to visit, no matter what you do.; But there may be a solution because some headaches are actually being caused by the very remedies that are meant to cure them.; Now usually known as medication overuse headache, this type of headache is more common that we’d like to think. It may look like this: You take a couple “painkillers” to get rid of the headache. ; The pain diminishes for a while, but after a few hours it starts to come back.; So, you take a couple more. This in itself is normal.; But when this becomes a regular pattern over days, and weeks, and months, you may actually be making your headache worse.
What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will take a medical history and will examine your head, eyes, ears, nose, throat, neck, and nervous system.
Your provider will ask many questions to learn about your headaches. Diagnosis is usually based on your history of symptoms.
Tests may include:
- Blood tests or a lumbar puncture if you may have an infection
- Head CT scan or MRI if you have any danger signs or you have been having headaches for a while
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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.
If You Have Cluster Headaches
- Sumatriptan is usually given by injection for cluster headache, as it provides pain relief in about 5-15 minutes in most people.
- You will be shown how to use the injection. You should use it as soon as a headache occurs. The adult dose is one 6 mg injection for each headache. If you get more than one headache a day, the maximum dose you can have in 24 hours is two 6 mg injections. You must leave at least one hour between the two injections.
- You may also be prescribed another medicine to try to prevent the headaches from occurring. Preventative treatment is often taken over the period of the cluster headaches and is then stopped, although some treatments are taken longer-term.
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Articles On Living With Migraine & Headache
Researchers are still trying to figure out why some people get migraines and others don’t.
What experts do know is that certain things can be migraine triggers for some people. Staying away from those things can lower your chances of getting one. Here are some things to avoid.
Donât stick with things that trigger headaches. Things that trigger a migraine are different for everyone. Once you figure out what yours are, stay away from them, or talk to your doctor about how to manage them better. Common ones include stress, exercise, fatigue, and medications. Women often get them from changes in hormones just before their periods. Alcohol and caffeine can bring them on, as can foods like cheese, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, cured meats, and things with a strong smell.
Don’t skip meals. Being hungry to the point that you feel shaky can bring on a migraine. Some researchers think low glucose levels may cause changes in your brain that bring them on.
Don’t take pain meds for more than 3 or 4 days. Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen , aspirin, ibuprofen , or a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine can sometimes help ease migraine headaches. It’s best to take one of these as soon as you feel a migraine coming on. But using them for more than a few days in a row can lead to “rebound headaches.” Your body starts expecting the pain medication, and migraines can happen if you don’t have it in your system.
TRC: “Food, Herbs, Supplements.”
Are My Migraines Coming Back After Years Without
So I’m 16 and the last time I had a full-blown migraine, to my knowledge, was in elementary school. I would have really awful ones that made me nauseous and sometimes made me vomit. Then, around fifth grade, they stopped. I’ve still been pretty prone to headaches & light sensitivity, but nothing near as bad.
However, in the last few weeks, maybe month, I’ve started to have more extremely frequent and easily-triggered headaches, usually brought on by pretty much any even slightly-bright light or by wearing my glasses for too long. They’re so easily triggered that sitting at my computer for more than 20 minutes or keeping the blinds open in my room will immediately set my head to pounding. I’m used to chronic pain since I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, but it’s never caused such easily-triggered and near-constant headaches like this.
I talked to one of my doctors about this, and she said that some people won’t have a migraine for years and then they’ll start to come back again. The headaches I’ve been having aren’t near as excruciating as what I experienced when I was young, but should I expect them to get worse?
Has anyone experienced a relapse like this? Do you know what triggered it? My only guesses are stress or a medicine that I tried for a few weeks then stopped recently, but my doctor said that headaches aren’t a known side effect.
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What Are The Stages Of A Migraine
The Migraine Research Foundation says that migraine is a neurological disease that affects 39 million people in the U.S. Migraines, which often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood, can progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome. Not everyone who has migraines goes through all stages.
Throbbing Pain On One Or Both Sides Of The Head
Pulsating pain is a classic sign of migraines. The throbbing is often felt on one side of the head.
In an online survey of patients with migraines, the National Headache Foundation found that 50% “always” have throbbing on one side, while 34% say they “frequently” have this symptom.
Migraine pain often burrows behind the eye.
People will blame it on eye strain and many will get their eyes checked, but that won’t make their headaches any better, Dr. Messina says.
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Why Did My Migraine Attacks Come Back After Stopping For So Long
For those accustomed to having them frequently, it can be exhilarating to experience an extended time without a migraine attack. While enjoying that time, it may also be helpful to know they could return at some point, and to plan your migraine care and treatment accordingly.
We’ve had people, and I’ve had people, come in and say, Dr. Purdy, I’m never going to have another migraine. They stopped for six months. I say, Oh my, that’s good, but maybe we should make an appointment in another six months, because you know what? Theycan come back. You don’t do that to cause distress; you do it because people when they’re so free of this disorder, which is not just headache, it’s the whole body responding to the world within. It’s a sensitive brain that doesn’t react well with the world around it. When they get rid of this, they feel so good, they actually believe it’s never going to come back, but it does.
Professor of NeurologyDalhousie University, Canada
Dr. Allan Purdy is a neurologist and a professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Dr. Purdy is currently President of the American Headache Society. He has also served as president of the Canadian Headache Society and on the Board of Directors for the International Headache Society.
How Can I Stop The Cycle
Although the treatment of rebound headache has been controversial, the ultimate goal is to lower or eliminate your intake of the offending medication.
Many doctors recommend stopping “cold turkey” .; This is especially appropriate when you’re under a doctor’s care and he is going to try some new treatments for you.; If you’re taking too many drugs, it may be impossible to see if the new treatment is helping.; In some cases, especially if you’re taking drugs such as codeine, you may need to be admitted to a medical facility and “detoxed”.; You will usually hear a doctor suggest that you need to get completely away from the offending drug.
For most migraineurs, this is really bad news because the medication you’re taking may be the only thing that you’ve ever found can help. ; If they’re allowing you to live a somewhat normal life, why stop them?
There are a few things to consider:
;You may want to try cutting down little by little first.; If you’re successful, you’ll probably be amazed by the results! ; Here’s what to do…
- Keep trackon paper of how much you take and when.
- One week at a time, try to cut down on the total that you take. If you take several at a time, cut down the number little by little.
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