One of the most common types of headaches you can suffer from is a tension headache at the base of your neck. It may be quite painful and cause some discomfort so if the problem affects you too, find out what the possible reasons and remedies for this type of headache are.
A Definition of a Headache
When you start your fight against headaches, first get to know your enemy and learn what types of headaches can be enumerated.
By headaches we understand pain and discomfort in our head or some part of the face. Headaches vary depending on the person. They can be strong or mild, occasional or chronic, serious and insignificant. They may appear in almost every part of our head or face.
A network of nerves which is located over your scalp is a common culprit of headaches. The muscles which can be found in your head, shoulders, or neck, and nerves that run through your face and mouth may be responsible for your headaches as well. Also, blood vessels which run along the surface and base of the brain may be the cause of a headache.
Tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches are three main types of headaches, which can happen to us. The most frequent type of a headache is a tension headache. It usually appears at the back of the neck and it’s usually a consequence of stiffened muscles and too much stress in everyday life.
Migraines are very troublesome types of headaches as apart from pain you can also experience other unpleasant symptoms, such as vomiting or sensitivity to light. What’s more, migraines often occur periodically and once they attack you, they don’t want to go away for even a few days.
Cluster headaches are probably the worst as the pain you experience is severe and it can last for a few weeks or months. The pain usually appears on one side of the head, usually behind one eye, which may also be watery or reddish. A blocked nose might be an accompanying symptom as well.
All kinds of headaches are also classified as primary or secondary ones. We talk about a primary headache when it’s a predominant problem. A secondary headache, on the other hand, is just a symptom of some underlying medical problem. For example, eye problems often result in headaches.
The Causes of a Headache at the Base of the Neck
In medical terms a headache at the base of your neck is called an occipital neuralgia. This type of a headache occurs when there is pressure on your occipital nerves or they are irritated by something.
This type of a headache usually appears as a consequence of neck injuries, stiff muscles in the neck, or tension in the neck. Other causes include some disorders of cervical disc and osteoarthritis. The most dangerous source of pain at the back of the neck is a tumor, luckily, it doesn’t happen often.
The inflammation of blood vessels, diabetes, and gout are also among the causes of occipital neuralgia. Also, if you do dynamic sports or you experienced some accident, it’s possible that you strained some muscle, which is actually quite a common cause of pain at the back of the neck.
If the movement that led to the injury was really quick or sudden, you may have even torn or ruptured your muscle, which may also lead to inflammation and swelling.
The most common cause of headaches at the base of the neck, however, is actually a bad posture of your body. People who lead a sedentary lifestyle and don’t do any sports regularly are more likely to develop a headache at the base of the neck. What’s more, even when we sit, we have a bad posture too, tending to lean our head forward.
Particular muscles, joints, and ligaments hold our head up, but when our body posture is poor, there is too much pressure on them. If we don’t change our bad habits, the muscles get stiff, weak, and they lose their flexibility. A headache at the base of the neck is the consequence of this bad routine.
The level of serotonin and endorphins in your brain may also lead to tension headaches as they are chemicals that have the ability to prevent pain. Every time they suddenly go up or down, you may experience as a headache at the base of the neck.
People with osteoarthritis may suffer from a headache at the base of the neck as their spinal structure has been worn. Bony outgrowths, knowns as osteophytes or bone spurs, form putting pressure on the soft tissues, such as our nerves.
Another condition of a cervical spine is known as a disc herniation. It happens when your disc was pushed outside as a result of too much pressure. In consequence your nerves may be irritated and sensitive, which of course may cause some pain at the base of the neck.