Severe pain in the back of the head and neck can give you sleepless nights. The pain may range from mild to severe and patient suffers different intensities and patterns of pain. Causes of such pain differ from one individual to another. Fortunately pain in back of the head and neck does not signify any chronic neurological condition. In fact they can be easily manage with rest, some over the counter pain relievers and changes in lifestyle.
Pain in the back of the head and neck is a common symptom. The neck is made up of seven vertebrae, muscles, ligaments and nerves. Since the muscles in the neck is attach to the skull then any problems encountered in the neck can lead to headaches or pain at the back of the head. Most causes of head and neck pain are not really that serious but there are also cases that they are. So if you ever experience pain that often spreads into the shoulder or arm and does not go away in a few days should be brought to the attention of your doctor.
Causes of pain in back of head and Neck
Muscle Strain resulting to Myogenic Headaches. Muscle strain can happen fast and in most awkward moments when your muscles are not ready for it. Sports injury as well as whiplash from car accident is the most common scenario for muscle strain. This strain can result to what they call as myogenic headache. This headache is cause by the tightness or stiffness of the neck muscles. Symptoms of myogenic headache includes mild to severe pain in one or both sides of the head, pain usually spreads to the eyes, temples and top of the head; Pain from the neck and spreads in the back of the head as well as the jaw; and pain can last for a few hours or several weeks.
Poor Posture Resulting to Vertebrogenic Headaches. Most individuals these days spend most of their time hunched over their computers or desk without observing proper posture. Wrong posture can result to stress in the muscles, joints and ligaments in the neck which supports the head. Through time the muscles can become tight and weak and loses flexibility which will lead to pain.
This results to Vertebrogenic headaches. The pain starts from the neck which often spreads to the back of the ears, eyes and towards the top of your head. This is a result from bad posture because of the misalignment of the vertebra joints thus the joint dysfunction. Symptoms often includes a constant dull pain in one side of the head, tenderness in the neck, pain in the back of the neck that spread to the back of your head and eyes; and headache can last from several hours to weeks.
Arthritis. Pain in the neck can be associated too to osteoarthritis. It is actually a wear and tear of the spinal structures. Bone spurs often develops so that this growths can put pressure on tissues and nerves thus causing a radiating pain.
Tension Headache. This is one of the most common headaches individuals experience. To some it is just mild although to some it can be chronic. This is due to constant smoking, drinking alcohol, hormonal changes especially in women, eye strain, poor posture, fatigue and constant stress. Symptoms include general pain in the back of the head and neck; tightness of muscle at the back of the neck and duration of headache is short if taken with analgesics. Tension headaches can be effectively manage too with stress management therapy and taking of antidepressant medication (JAMA 2001).
Migraine Headache. Second most common cause of pain at the back of the head and neck is migraine. This is cause by the slow blood circulation in the head and neck due to constriction of the blood vessels. This triggers a migraine attack. Symptoms of migraine includes pulsating pain just in one side of the head, sensitivity to sounds and light, vertiligo, vomiting, nausea, pain usually occurs in the morning and it usually lasts for several hours or even forty-eight hours in severe cases.
Cancer. If the pain in the back of the head and neck do not stop even if given conservative care then it is important that you go check with your doctor to rule out any possibility of a tumor. Tumors can develop in the vertebrae of the cervical spine which can cause severe pain and other symptoms.