Causes of headache in the neck: neck and head injuries, increased intracranial pressure, symptomatic arterial hypertension

Sometimes it seems that if your head hurts, then it does not require special attention. Such a violation of health does not seem dangerous. But this is only at first glance. Such symptoms can indicate a variety of things. It is possible that this is an external sign of the painful processes going on in the body.

In fact, such a malaise is far from harmless. In addition, that pain can signal some deeper painful processes in the human body, its strength and intensity can be very high. There are several options for this malaise. One of the common varieties is the pain in the nape. In this article, we will try to understand carefully what it is. What causes headaches in the neck? Is it worth worrying? Let's take everything in order.

causes of headache in the nape of the neck

Causes of headache in the nape of the neck

In order to successfully combat such pain, you need to understand the reasons for its appearance. Often it is just a symptom of other disorders. Therefore it is very important to put the correct diagnosis. After this, it will be possible to conduct effective treatment.

  • One of the most important reasons is an increased emotional load, nervous overstrain, the emergence of a stressful condition. As a consequence, this sometimes leads to spasm of blood vessels, a sharp change in pressure. This can cause headaches in the occiput. As a rule, violations that are associated with such causes are neither too strong nor too long.
  • Causes of headache in the nape of the neck can be covered in various kinds of head or neck injuries. In this case, hematomas, damage to the vertebrae or blood vessels may occur. As a result, a nerve or blood vessel can become pinched, which can cause severe pain. In this case, intracranial pressure can increase dramatically.
  • It should be noted that a sharp increase in pressure in the blood vessels in itself can cause severe headaches. It is clear that in order to cure malaise, in this case, first of all, it is necessary to normalize blood pressure.
  • Even the usual overstrain of the muscles that connect the different parts of the skull, can lead to malaise. If it is a matter of overexertion of the muscles that are located on the temples, this leads to occipital pain, which will gradually be given over the entire head. Usually on the site( it becomes denser to the touch), where it takes place, the head reacts painfully when touched.
  • A sedentary lifestyle is not a rarity in our time. One of its possible consequences is the development of osteochondrosis. With the development of the disease, the distance between the vertebrae becomes smaller, and the nerve endings can be pinched because of this, which creates pain in the neck and head. In this case, pain can occur even with a slight movement of the neck.
  • It is possible and a situation where, due to increased strain on the cervical spine, deformation of the intervertebral tissue and gradual abrasion of the vertebrae occur. This leads to the gradual degeneration of this tissue. In this case, sometimes the bone processes are formed. This disease is called cervical spondylosis and can cause regular occipital pain.
  • Even the usual tightening of the muscle tissue on the neck can lead to such problems. This disease is called myoglosis and can be caused by several different causes.
  1. If you are regularly in a draft.
  2. This may be a result of constant overstrain of the neck muscles.
  3. Also, the reason may be poor posture.
  4. If you constantly have severe stress.
  • If the occipital nerve is injured, this can be the cause of severe and acute pain. If you have neuralgia, then treatment should be done quickly and effectively. This disease, unfortunately, not only creates severe pain, but also is able to quickly progress.

This far from exhausting the possible causes of headache in the nape of the neck. In order to cure them, you must first of all make the correct diagnosis.

symptomatic arterial hypertension

Symptomatic arterial hypertension

Sometimes a person has high blood pressure over a long period of time. If this is not just one-off, but has become something ordinary, then the speech is most likely about the disease. The most common cause of it is a violation of brain regulation of the tone of blood vessels. However, in a number of other cases this disease is already secondary. It is in this case that it is said to be symptomatic arterial hypertension. We emphasize that in the latter case there is another, quite serious disease, and the increase in pressure is its consequence. What can be its cause in the case under consideration?

  • One of the possible causes may be kidney disease. In this case, it may not be one of these diseases, but several: chronic pyelonephritis, stenosis of the renal arteries and some other diseases.
  • No less real threat to the human body can be various kinds of endocrine disorders. If there is a disease, due to which the glands of internal secretion cease to work properly, this can lead to the most serious consequences, including severe headaches in the nape.
  • If there are diseases of the heart and blood vessels, they can be given off with severe pain in various places of the body. A consequence of this can be a headache.

neck injuries

Neck injury

In some cases, the pain may be of traumatic origin. The cause may be not only severe neck injuries, but also a simple bruise. Pain often occurs not immediately, but after a couple of weeks. It can be not only acute, but also chronic. This is due to the fact that for the course of pathological processes a certain time is required. Chronic pain in this case is protracted, they often last longer than two months. Such ailments have a number of features.

  • May be accompanied by dizziness and a feeling of split in the eyes.
  • Subsequently, trauma to the neck can suffer memory and hearing.
  • Appetite impairment occurs.
  • Sometimes there is increased noise and photosensitivity.
  • Depressive conditions and increased anxiety may occur.
  • The degree of concentration of attention is significantly reduced.

throbbing pain in the occiput

Pulsating pain in occiput

One of the characteristic features of the numerous varieties of headaches is that they can have very different character. One of the most painful can be called a pulsating one. As a rule, throbbing pain in the occipital region has a vascular origin. It can cause great harm to human health. As a rule, the walls of healthy vessels sometimes expand, and sometimes contract. This happens when the body needs it. In some cases( for example, with trauma), the tone of the walls of the vessels can be lowered and this usually leads to spasms. In this case, the vessel contracts and limits the flow of blood to this or that part of the brain. As a result, oxygen supply is disrupted for a while, which subsequently leads to severe pulsating headaches.

Frequent neck pain

If you have frequent pain in the occiput, the reasons may be as follows:

  • There is high blood pressure.
  • In the event that in your life, stress is a frequent occurrence, then first it leads to a strong increase in mental stress. And it, in turn, causes a regular onset of headaches in the nape of the neck. This effect often occurs in those over the age of thirty. It is also known that in women this malaise occurs more often than in men.
  • However, the risk factor can be not only increased nervous tension. If you often stay in an uncomfortable position for a long time, it can also provoke regular occipital pain. A strong mental strain can also have such consequences.
  • To frequent and severe pain can cause diseases that affect the cervical spine. One such example is osteochondrosis.
  • As you know, the vertebrae have appendages. In some cases, their deformation and proliferation may occur. This disease is called cervical spondylosis. Some mistakenly believe that speech in this case is about the deposition of salts. In fact, such processes occur due to the degeneration of the tissues of such ligaments into bone tissue. As a rule, this disease is more common in advanced years. However, for those who lead an inactive way of life, such a danger is actual already since the young age. Characteristic signs of such a disease are pains not only in the nape of the neck, but also in the shoulder girdle.
  • One of the sources of the occipital headache can be a strong compaction of muscle tissue. The reasons can be the most usual: if the back is numb, stretched draft or with some violations of posture. With this variant of the disease, pain is accompanied by stiffness of movements in the shoulder girdle and light dizziness.

frequent pain in the occiput

Increased intracranial pressure

This disease usually occurs due to quite serious reasons.

  • This may be a consequence of meningitis.
  • Such a disease, like a dropsy of the brain, can also be the cause.
  • If there is inflammation of the brain envelopes or rupture of the vessel - it can also lead to increased intracranial pressure.
  • This can also happen due to disorders in the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid, which sometimes lead to its increased secretion.
  • Taking some hormonal medications.

In order to diagnose this violation, special methods are needed. Usually for this purpose a hollow needle is inserted into the spinal canal. This can also be done by introducing a special sensor into the hole in the skull during trepanation.

A less reliable, but simpler method is to use a description of the corresponding symptoms. So, if intracranial pressure is increased, the symptoms are as follows:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Strong, often a headache. Its distinctive feature is the gradual strengthening by the evening and at night.
  • Severe attacks of nausea that are not accompanied by vomiting.
  • High fatigue, a feeling of inhibition, severe irritability.
  • Black dots( flies) in the eyes, no pupillary response to bright light.
  • One side of the human body may be immobilized. It is somewhat paralyzed, but not fully.
  • Very sweaty.
  • Formation of black spots or bags under the eyes.

increased intracranial pressure symptoms

The pathology of the brain vessels

If to speak in general, then in this case we are talking about violations in the normal operation of cerebral vessels. For example, we give two cases, which are the most widespread.

  • What is an aneurysm? It is a spherical thickening in a blood vessel. When the blood moves, such a site can not withstand pressure and burst.
  • Another malady that can be attributed to this type is malformation. Here we are talking about another phenomenon: the formation of an additional communication between the blood vessels, which should not be.

It is usually believed that the pathology of cerebral vessels is characteristic only of older people. However, in fact it is not. It can occur at almost any age. This disease, as a rule, is treated with the help of surgical intervention.

Hit the back of the head. What consequences?

Unfortunately, such a trauma is not something impossible. But this is far from an innocuous situation. Of course, in some cases, if the blow is weak, you can not pay special attention to this. However, if the damage is strong enough, a concussion can occur. How to determine if it was? There are several important signs:

  • If you are unconscious for a moment after an impact, this is an alarming sign.
  • With nausea and vomiting after an injury, you can definitely argue that you need to see a doctor.
  • With severe concussion, severe headache is common.

If you have these three symptoms, you should always contact your doctor.

What are the threats of such damage? If a person hits the back of the head, the consequences are as follows:

  • First of all, it can lead to severe and prolonged headaches both in the nape of the neck and throughout the head. Usually when tilted, this kind of pain tends to increase.
  • Sweating may occur in some cases.
  • There are also possible sharp tides of blood to the head, after which the person greatly pales.
  • Sometimes convulsive seizures may occur, which somewhat resemble epileptic seizures.
  • Neuroses, depression or increased anxiety are quite likely conditions.

the back of the head struck

Nasal Massage of the Head

Nape massage is one of the ways that can help cure the headache completely or at least partially. It can be used in most such cases. Here is one of the options.

  • You need to fold your hands into a fist and lightly tap the bottom of your neck and the back of your neck with the palms of your hands.
  • Place the palms on the back of the head. Bend the thumbs slightly and place them near the lower border of the skull, next to the ears. With the palm of your hand, grab the back of your head. You should slightly bend your head back and periodically press your thumbs slightly inward and upward. Try to get a sensation of acute sensitivity with this massage.
  • Now put your palms horizontally and cover the head from behind in such a way as to get your fingers into the recess between the skull and the tip of the spine. Press down periodically, directing force inward and inward.

Aching in the back of the head

One of the reasons for this kind of pain may be muscle spasms. The cause can be either an uncomfortable posture for a long time, or a significant nervous or mental strain. In this situation, head massage and a cold forehead compress help well. Of course, a little rest and restore strength will also be useful if you are concerned about aching pain in the nape of the neck.


Now you know that if the occipital part of the head hurts, it usually does not act as an independent disease, but it can be caused by some or other health problems. For the cure, it is important to pinpoint its causes. Correctly and timely diagnosed is very important. Do not ignore unpleasant symptoms in your body and do self-medication. Take care of your health!