Headaches occur in many different forms. Some headaches feel like a band is wrapped around the head. Others present with pain behind one of the eyes. Headaches can occur at the temples as well. What causes a headache that affects the very top of the head? Here are some possible causes. At the end of our article, we’ll present a natural form of care that has been bringing hope to many headache patients.
#1 Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are named due to the underlying cause – tension or stress. It builds up in the neck and leads to headaches. While tension headaches often present with the sensation of a band being wrapped around the head, they can also occur with pain on top of the head. In fact, one survey showed that about 1 in 5 responders experienced this type of headache.
Since it is estimated that about 38% of people at least occasionally get tension headaches, this is the most likely cause of your problem. Pain in the neck or between the shoulders is also a common symptom of a tension headache.
#2 Chronic Headaches
If a person experiences headaches 15 or more days out of the month, the problem is considered chronic. Some people even experience daily headaches. About 4% of adults are dealing this chronic ailment. About a quarter of those patients will experience a headache on the top of the head.
#3 Migraine Headaches
While migraines are a neurological condition and not a type of headache, a pulsating headache can occur during a migraine (and does occur about 85-90% of the time during an episode). Migraines affect 12% of the adult population (18% of women and 6% of men). While migraine pain more commonly occurs on the side of the head or behind the eye, patients can also experience top of the head pain.
#4 Idiopathic Pain
A study in Korea involving 115 patients who suffered idiopathic (no identifiable cause) head pain showed that 10% felt the stabbing pain on the top of their head. While this sort of sudden pain can be frightening, it didn’t seem to be related to any dangerous condition in the patients involved in the study. It was also shown that the problem was more common for migraine patients.
#5 Cold-Stimulus Headache
Whether you call it brain freeze or an ice cream headache, this is a headache that occurs when cold foods or beverages are consumed too quickly. While researchers still don’t fully understand this type of headache, it clearly is related to cold-stimuli. This type of headache presents less commonly on the top of the head, but it still occurs occasionally.
#6 Cervicogenic Headache
This type of headache overlaps many of the other types. It just means that the headache is related to a problem in the neck. Thus, a cervicogenic headache can be a migraine symptom, a tension headache, or part of a chronic headache issue. The headaches can present with pain in many different ways, including on top of the head.
#7 Exertional Headache
Sometimes a headache will occur when a person exercises too hard. If a headache already exists but gets worse with exertion, this can actually be a sign of migraines. Exertional headaches can occur during cardio exercise, weight training, or even sex.
#8 Sleep Deprivation Headache
A headache can begin when a person has not slept enough. In fact, lack of proper sleep is a common migraine trigger. So once again, it is important to discern if those headaches are really just a symptom of migraines if you experience them after a poor night of sleep.
#9 Post-Concussion Headaches
Sometimes after a traumatic head or neck injury, the injured person will experience the onset of headaches. This can happen following a concussion, whiplash injuries, and other similar forms of trauma. Once again, these headaches seem to be related to the neck as the symptoms of head and neck injuries often line up.
Hope for Headaches Sufferers – Natural Relief Can Be Attained
If you are suffering from headaches, whether they are one of the types noted above or otherwise, you may be experiencing a common underlying cause. You may have noted throughout our discussion how often the problem comes back to the neck. Why is this the case? Consider some of the complications that might occur if a misalignment exists in the upper cervical spine:
- Brainstem Pressure – Since the C1 (atlas) surrounds the area where the brainstem meets the spinal cord, even the slightest misalignment may put pressure on this vital and sensitive part of the central nervous system.
- Intracranial Pressure – Upper cervical misalignments have been seen to inhibit cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage when patients are examined with an upright MRI. As a result, CSF may pool and cause increased intracranial pressure.
- Reduced Blood Flow – The cervical spine helps to facilitate blood flow to the brain by means of the vertebral foramen (tiny loops of bone that provide safe passage for the vertebral arteries that provide blood flow to the head).
These are all factors that can affect headache or migraine occurrence. Therefore, if you are experiencing headaches, especially if you have neck pain before or during the episodes, we encourage you to get an examination from an upper cervical chiropractor. This safe and gentle subspecialty of chiropractic focuses on the top two bones of the spine. To learn more about this natural form of care and how it may be able to help you, contact a practitioner in your area today.
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