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Trigger Factors Back Headaches

Almost everyone has experienced headaches. Perceived complaints can vary greatly due to the different conditions of each person. Headache at the back is one that is often complained of. What is the cause?

Headache is pain that can be felt in the eyes and ears, the top of the head, the back of the head to the upper neck. Therefore, each location of the onset of headaches may indicate a different cause. Headaches can be caused by disorders of the structure of the head itself, including blood vessels, muscles, and nerves. Headaches may also be influenced by other factors such as suffering from an illness to environmental and psychological situations.

Recognize the Causes of Back Headaches

To find out how to deal with back pain, you need to recognize the symptoms more. Some causes of back headaches include:

1. Tension headache

Lack of sleep, stress, tension, and hunger can trigger tension headaches. These headaches are generally experienced by adults, ranging from mild to moderate pain. When relapses, a person will feel tense and there is pressure on the forehead or the back of the head and neck for about 30 minutes to several days. Tension headaches can occur in a recurring state for less than 15 days per month or chronic attacks for more than 15 days per month. Tension headaches generally do not hamper a person from doing activities.

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2. Chronic daily headache

Chronic daily headaches occur almost every day for three months which is triggered by an injury to the neck or fatigue. This headache that attacks women more often occurs because the muscles in the back of the neck tighten. Physiotherapy is a suggestion to relieve chronic daily headaches. In certain cases, doctors can combine it with antidepressant drugs. Meanwhile, pain relievers are not recommended for chronic daily headaches because it can worsen the condition.

3. Headaches during physical activity

As the name suggests, this headache which is also called an exertional headache is triggered by a variety of physical activities and can get worse if the type of activity is heavy enough, such as running, having sex, coughing or tightening the abdominal muscles during bowel movements. Exertional headaches can be felt in the back of the head, right behind the eyes or in all parts of the head. This pain usually lasts about 20 minutes. Generally, this headache does not indicate a serious problem, but may also be a sign of blood vessel disorders in the brain, although this is very rare. Even so, immediately consult a doctor if you are often stricken with this disease.

4. Occipital neuralgia

Occipital neuralgia is triggered by disorders of the occipital nerve that surround the spinal cord from the base of the neck to the head. This disorder arises due to pressure or irritation from the occipital nerve due to injury, inflammation or a pinched nerve. These headaches are sometimes considered migraines because the symptoms are almost the same. The pain that is felt in occipital neuralgia is generally like a sharp electric shock that pierces the head and neck.

5. Basilar migraine

Unlike migraine in general, which is felt on one side of the head, basilar migraine is felt on the back of the head, precisely in the basilar artery. These migraines often begin with aura symptoms, such as blurred vision, temporary blindness, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and speech and hearing disorders. But in addition to the symptoms that are quite disturbing, the migraine does not make the sufferer feel weak, although in certain cases, it should be watched out because this type of migraine is related to stroke. Immediately consult a doctor if you experience headaches with symptoms similar to basilar migraine.

Also, poor posture, for example, due to activities or daily work, as well as bending habits, can cause tension in the back to the neck area, it can also cause back headaches. Disturbances in the vertebrae (hernia nucleus pulposus) in the neck area, and cluster headaches also often cause back headaches, especially when lying down.

Beware of Serious Conditions

Most of the back headaches that occur do not need to worry. However, some symptoms require further examination of a doctor or other medical expert. Beware of headaches that occur, if:

  • Accompanied by high fever, vomiting, or red eyes.
  • Accompanied by pain in the head, impaired vision, or pain in the jaw when chewing food.
  • Affects speech and balance.
  • Result in changes in behavior or memory disorders.
  • There is a history of head injury in the last three months.
  • Coming suddenly and unbearably different from your usual headache.
  • It does not quickly disappear but instead, it gets worse.
  • Your body's immunity is low, for example, because of corticosteroid drugs or diseases such as HIV.
  • Have or are suffering from cancer that has the potential to spread throughout the body.

What increases the risk of having back Headaches?

Headaches in the back can be experienced by anyone. However, the risk factors that certain people have may increase the potential for this group of people to experience this condition.

1. Gender

Everyone has the same opportunity to experience this condition, but women have a higher potential to experience this condition due to migraines, while men are more likely to experience back pain if they experience cluster headaches.

2. Age

Although back headaches may be experienced by anyone of any age class, there are several causes of this condition that tend to be experienced by certain age classes.

For example, migraines are more prone to occur in women aged 35 to 45 years. Meanwhile, people with classes aged 20 to 50 years are more prone to experiencing cluster headaches.

3. Genetic

Genetic factors can also be a risk factor for several of these headaches. For example, if your parents suffer from migraines, you have a higher potential than people who don't have a family history of migraine sufferers.

Similarly, one of the causes of headaches in the back, namely osteoarthritis. This condition will be more susceptible to people who have a family history of sufferers of the disease.

4. Certain medical conditions

Another risk factor is certain health conditions. For example, people who are depressed and often feel anxious have greater potential to experience tension headaches and migraines. Meanwhile, people who have experienced head injuries or had surgery on the head can experience cluster headaches.

5. Lifestyle

You also need to pay attention to the lifestyle you choose and live. Because certain lifestyles increase your risk factors for experiencing this condition. For example, you who are used to smoking are more prone to cluster headaches and tension headaches.

Whereas people who overexert themselves so often feel too tired are more likely to experience tension headaches and migraines. The habit of consuming alcohol is also thought to increase your potential to experience migraines.

Headaches are known to be more rarely experienced by those who practice a balanced diet, exercise regularly, manage stress well, consume lots of fluids, and get enough sleep.

Generally, headaches occur without serious reasons. However, if you experience backaches accompanied by other symptoms or headaches that are different from those you have experienced before, see a doctor immediately.



  1. WHO (2019). How common are headaches?
  2. Mayo Clinic (2019). Cluster headache - Diagnosis and treatment.
  3. NHS Choices UK. Headaches. Shiel, W. C. Medicine Net (2017). Headache: Symptoms & Signs.
  4. Gotter, A. (2017). Pain in Back of Head: Causes, Treatment, and More.

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Health and clinical interests include all aspects of infectious diseases

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