What Does Pressure in the Back of Your Head Indicate?

Whenever too much pressure is exerted on the brain, it can restrict the blood flow in brain leading to serious medical conditions. There are various factors which contribute to pressure in the back of your head including headaches, migraines, inflamed sinuses etc. Pressure in the head or headache is pain or discomfort experienced by people usually on head or neck. There are various causes of pressure in the back of your head, which further sends signals to the nerve cells of the brain. It is important to know what does pressure in the back of your head indicate.

What Does Pressure in the Back of Your Head Indicate?

What Does Pressure in the Back of Your Head Indicate?

Pressure at the back of your head is mainly due to headache, which can be classified into three categories as mentioned below;

  • Primary Headache: They are idiopathic in nature; they are not caused due to any medical condition. Headaches caused due to migraine, cluster or tension can be placed well under this category.
  • Secondary Headaches: These are serious headaches which can be caused due to an underlying medical problem, for e.g. brain tumors, aneurysm, temporal arteritis, etc. In certain cases, this pain might further affect the cervical organ.
  • Tertiary Headaches: This category of headaches includes cranial neuralgias, facial pain and also other kind of headaches.

There are various factors which trigger pressure at the back of head. Some of the common causes include:

Migraine – Commonest Cause of Pressure at Back of the Head

It is surprising to know that, 12% of the population in United States has been affected by migraine. Migraine is a medical condition in which individual suffers from pain on one side of the head. However, it may eventually spread to back of the head. Migraine usually causes severe headache, which may begin on one side of the head or can occur on top or back of head. While a person is suffering from a migraine attack, there may be symptoms like nausea, vomiting, throbbing pain in the head and even increased sensitivity to both light and sound. Other associated symptoms of migraine include colored or blind spots, flashing or sparkling of lights and weakness. These symptoms might last for around 5 to 30 minutes, while in some cases it can even last for hours.

Cervicogenic Causes of Pressure on Back of the Head

This is a headache or pressure in head, which is caused due to cervical causes. Such pressure is often exerted when excessive or persistent pressure is exerted on the neck or spine, trauma to or disorders of the spine. Initially the pain or the pressure on back of the head might be recurring, but after some point of time it can become constant. One of the major reasons of this medical condition is the musculoskeletal dysfunction. The causes of this medical condition include:

  1. Pain that can be caused due to neck movement.
  2. Awkward position of neck.
  3. Restricted motion of the neck, can be one of the prevalent reasons of pressure on back of your head.

In such cases, the pressure in the back of the head is basically aggravated due to neck positions or movements. It may also be associated with vertigo or a dizzy feeling in some cases. Hence, people suffering from such conditions should take extra caution for the neck, use neck collar, practice physiotherapy, take appropriate medications like muscle relaxants etc. according to their medical advice.

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:

  1. Feeling of pressure or hatband tightness at the back of head.
  2. Pain at the temples.
  3. 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.

Nasal Sinuses Can Causes Pressure in Back of Your Head

It would be interesting to know that there are four pairs of air filled spaces which is present within our skull. Sinuses are helpful in filtering out the dust or pollutants present in the air which we inhale. However, while individuals are suffering from allergies or cold, there are chances that it leads to blockage in ostia leading to pressure in sinus. This pressure in the sinuses stands out as one of the basic reasons of pain or pressure in head. Person suffering from the condition might have following symptoms:

  1. Pressure or pain at the top or back of head.
  2. Ear or neck pain.
  3. Fever, cough, chills or even nasal congestion.

For sinus problems it is recommended to use specific drugs according to medical advice. These drugs and steam inhalation can help release pressure from sinuses, and reduce the pressure in the back of your head.

Occipital Neuralgia

This is another medical condition which is basically caused due to the damage in occipital nerves and can cause pressure in the back of the head. These nerves originate from the second and third vertebrae of spinal column supplying to top and back of head. There are chances that the nerve causes pressure in the back of the head, which might be temporary or may stay for a longer period of time. Individuals suffering from chronic attacks might experience localized muscle spasms. The common symptoms include:

  1. Pain and pressure in the back of head.
  2. Restriction in the motion or movement of neck.
  3. Tenderness in scalp.
  4. Pain which occurs due to certain positions.

For persistent pressure at the back of your head it is necessary to seek medical opinion. As there are various causes, which can lead to pressure in the back your head, proper investigation can help to diagnose the condition and timely treatment can be initiated.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 10, 2017

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