The Unexpected Reason The Back Of Your Head Hurts

Pain that resonates in the back of the head can occur for a number of different reasons, such as from physical injuries, a herniated disc, or a brain tumor (via Fortis Hospital Mumbai). Experts at Medical News Today add that pain in the back of the head can even be prompted by excessive use of pain-relief medications. No matter the cause, this kind of pain can be a headache. No pun intended — as headaches are usually what's to blame when the back of your head hurts. Specifically, tension headaches are often the cause.

The pain of a tension headache is often isolated to the sides and back of the head due to strain on the head and neck muscles (via WebMD). The Cleveland Clinic notes that two out of every three adults across the country are thought to experience tension headaches. A tension headache can pop up due to stress, a lack of sleep, or if a person has certain health conditions (such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders). However, there are some more unusual causes for pain in the back of the head. One of these may be the way you're sitting.

Are you sitting up straight or hunched over?

If you're someone who, for example, sits hunched over a desk at a computer for the majority of the day, poor posture may be the reason that the back of your head hurts, according to WebMD. It makes sense that poor posture would be linked to back pain or shoulder pain, but what exactly is the relationship between slouching and this specific region of our head?

Whether we are sitting or standing, if our body is not positioned properly, the muscles in our upper back, neck, jaw, and back of the head pay the price. Additional strain is placed on these muscles, as well as the surrounding nerves, leading to tension headaches and causing the back of your head to hurt. So how can we reduce the frequency and severity of these headaches? Over-the-counter (OTC) pain-relief medications can be beneficial. You should also take routine breaks from your desk to get up and walk around. If poor posture is to blame, it's best to address the problem directly. Correct your positioning so that you are standing and sitting up straight.

Tips for maintaining good posture

First, let's break down static posture versus dynamic posture. MedlinePlus explains that the positioning of our posture when we are in motion is known as our dynamic posture. Conversely, static posture pertains to our posture when we are still, such as when we are seated or asleep in bed. To maintain good dynamic posture, stand tall and keep your shoulders back while keeping your head parallel with the floor. Pull in your stomach and allow your arms to hang down freely. Stand roughly shoulder-width apart and keep the majority of your weight on the balls of your feet instead of your heels.

To support healthy static posture when seated, start by keeping your feet flat against the ground, rather than crossing your legs. If working at a desk, make sure you have a chair that supports your back and keeps your hips and thighs parallel to the floor. Keep your shoulders soft and relaxed, and maintain about a 90-degree angle in your elbows (which should be kept close at your sides). With these tips, you may find that any tension headache-related pain in the back of your head begins to subside.