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Headache Back Of Head

by Sue
(Philadelphia, PA)


Hi,

I have been having a headache at the back of my head. It usually starts in the mornings but can happen also at work. I work in a nursing home and have to help lift people. At times it is really bad and once or twice I had to go home.

I get some nausea too. I have tried Advils and they helped a little bit.

The headaches don't happen everyday, but they do happen a couple of times a week.

Any ideas? I went to my doctor and he gave me ibuprophens but they didn't work either.

I don't have any other medical problems so I don't go to the doctor unless I have to.

Thanks.

Sue

Answer:

Hi Sue,

Headache back of head is a common complaint in many headache centers. With a history of lifting and some nausea, you may be having what is called cervicogenic headache. This is usually caused by spasms in the neck muscles. The largest muscle in the back is the trapezius which attaches at the back of the skull. When this start spasming, it creates pain in the back of the head.



But before assuming anything, you should ask your doctor to consider some testing. If you are a smoker and over 40, with a newer onset of headaches an MRI should be performed in addition to carotid dopplers. They could also consider a transcranial doppler (or TCD) which looks at the arteries in the back of the neck.

An MRI is especially important if having any other symptoms such as blurry vision, blind spots, vertigo, dizziness, weakness, or any episodes of passing out.

Assuming everything comes out fine, and it is spasming, an anti-spasmotic is the medication of choice. This can be combined with the advil or ibuprofen to use as needed. You might also consider physical therapy.

Since these headaches also occur in the morning, consider how you sleep and if you are getting the proper neck support at night. A poor or old mattress can also influence posture during sleep and cause neck and back problems.

Hope this helps..
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Headache Back Of Head

by Tracy
(Connecticut)

Recurring Headache Back Of Head

Recurring Headache Back Of Head

I get headaches almost everyday in the back of my head and it's from like anywhere between where my neck meets my head to where my eyes would be if they were on the back of my head, if that makes any sense. I've gotten them a lot for almost 2 years I would say.

Tracy

Answer:

Hi Tracy,

You don't mention whether or not you have tried any treatments or talked to your doctor. A recurring headache could just be spasming coming from the neck but it still should be investigated further.

Rarely, I have seen patients with a meningioma in the posterior fossa of the skull (huh?)..the back part of the skull. Meningiomas are benign tumors outside of the brain, between the brain and the skull. They can very slowly start growing in size and if they press on the brain, the person starts getting headaches.

At this point, after two years of this and it hasn't gotten worse over time, I doubt you have a tumor but still, if you haven't had an MRI, you need one.

Talk to your doctor, have him or her examine your neck for possible causes of this headache at the back of your head. You can read more about headaches and neck pain and see if this sounds like you.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Headache Back of Head

by John
(Ghana)

Hi, I am 26 years old. Recently, say about 3 weeks now, I have been experiencing MILD headaches on my fore-head, then moves to the back of my head EVERYDAY. Headache stays mild at the back of my head for several hours.

When I take a pain killer, it varnishes but later comes back.

However, with the slightest alcohol intake, for example quarter a canned beer, headache intensifies and becomes severe for an hour or two and will only calm after drinking a lot of water.

Is this something I need to see a doctor about?

Thanks,

John



Answer:

Hi John,

If you have never had headaches before then yes..I would say check with a doctor to see what is going on.

Some of the symptoms you initially described sound more like tension type headache because of the pain at the forehead and the back of the head.

However, having said that, migraines can be provoked by alcohol. Tension headache is almost never made worse by alcohol.

All in all the symptoms are a little unusual and that means talk to a doctor.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Headache Back Of Head

by cynthia r.
(aliso viejo, cal. USA)

52 year old female, who has had chronic migraines since 1996. After an ex husband pushed on the occipital area so hard that I passed out for several minutes to wake with paramedics around me the story starts. Into the hospital for ct scan. Negative.

After the divorce my journey starts with chiropractic care. From there I start pain meds vicodin, ocycontin, xanax, seisure meds, then I go to a headache pain specialist for an ans stimulator, nerve block series, more seizure meds.

Next to a neurologist for series of botox injections and lidocain nasal sprays. Here's the best one of all another neurologist says if I just forgive my past and detox off all meds I will be cured.

8 years of 7.5 vicodin, 5 ocycontin 10mg a day, 1 xanax daily plus the stimulator on and nothing was helping. They put me on zoloft saying I was depressed. I think anyone would be depressed with out a normal life mostly drugged with pain that wants you to end it all. After the 7 hour lumbar fusion {major} I thought that would help the headaches, didn't happen.

Fast forward I have gotten off ALL meds! I deal with the pain and can barely work or do daily activities of living. I will see a new neurologist Sep.29. I don't think I have migraines. This headache is daily with the following: (by the way my eye exam came back perfect) Nausea, dizzy, confusion with speech trouble, severe neck /occipital pain. Pain starts at the occipital and goes over the entire head.

Sometimes making the cheeks and jaw sore, no TMJ either. The veins at the left temple are always large and tender. Pain increases with nausea with perfumes, car exhaust etc. I have been told by sinus doc that ct scan of sinus is ok but I have tenderness too in those areas. I hope I have given you a picture of my problem. Its like a combo of cervicogenic and berre leiou {spelling ?} Syndrome. I'm so desperate, don't have a normal life. Scared to lose my job.

Cynthia

Answer:

Hi Cynthia,

Quite a history...I hope the ex is far out the picture by now!

It is too bad that you did not see a headache expert in the beginning as you may not have been placed on opioids. Recent studies have shown that even episodic use of opioid drugs can worsen a headache profile. They eventually cause re-modulating of receptors in the brain.

But back to you..All of the symptoms that you currently describe are indeed consistent with migraine headaches. We know know that the occipital nerves, which run up the back of the head, are involved in migraine. When over stimulated they send a signal through the C2/C3 cervical area direct to the part of the brain that then triggers a migraine.

You did not mention where the stimulator is, but an occipital stimulator could be an option for you considering the headache at the back of the head is where the migraines begin.

No where is your history do I see serial IV infusions to break these headaches. We do this routinely for more severe cases and set patients up for 2 or 3 days of IV infusions.

At this point you do need to see a board certified headache specialist, not just a general neurologist. There are several in your area and here is a link to headache specialists by state.

Good luck and hope they can get the headaches under control for you.

Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Does the scenerio above sound like you? If not, or if you think you need more information please read about different types of headaches to find out which type of headache you are experiencing.

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