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    Headache on Top of Head: Causes, Dull, Left Side, and Right Side

    Identifying exactly what type of headache you’re experiencing is crucial to finding the right treatment and getting relief.

    Headache on the Top of the Head

    Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA — Written by Ana Gotter — Updated on September 28, 2018

    Overview

    Headaches are never fun, and each type of headache can produce its own unique symptoms. Headaches that occur on the top of the head may cause the sensation of having a heavy weight placed on the crown of your head.

    Identifying exactly what type of headache you’re experiencing is crucial to finding the right treatment and getting relief.

    What causes a headache on the top of your head?

    Several different conditions can cause headaches on top of your head, including:

    Tension headaches

    Tension headaches are the most common cause of headaches that occur on the top of the head. They cause a constant pressure or aching around the head, which may feel like a tight band has been placed around the head.

    You may also feel pain in your neck and near the back of your head or temples. The pain is dull and doesn’t throb, and it’s often much less severe than that of a migraine. Although these headaches are uncomfortable, many people with tension headaches are able to resume normal activities.

    Learn more about tension headaches.

    Migraines

    Migraines also cause headache pain on the top of the head, though it may also appear on or travel to one side of the head or the back of the neck. Migraines can cause a severe throbbing pain, along with symptoms like:

    Migraines may be felt on the right or left side of the head, but they’re most common on the left side.

    Learn more about migraines.

    Sleep deprivation headaches

    Sleep deprivation headaches can affect anyone, even if you don’t typically get headaches. They can be caused by insufficient or interrupted sleep, and they typically cause a dull ache combined with a heaviness or pressure on the top of the head.

    Learn more about how sleep deprivation affects your body.

    Cold-stimulus headaches

    Cold-stimulus headaches — commonly known as “brain freezes” — come on quickly and are felt near the top of the head. They will be severe, and typically only last a few seconds.

    Learn more about brain freezes.

    Chronic headaches

    In some cases, chronic headaches can resemble tension headaches and cause pain near the top of the head. Like tension headaches, these may be provoked by stress. They can also be caused by persistent loud noises, poor sleep, or other triggers.

    Learn more about chronic headaches.

    Occipital neuralgia

    Occipital neuralgia occurs when the nerves that move from the spine to the scalp are damaged, irritated, or compressed. They can cause pain at the back of the head, or a tight, band-like feeling around the top of the head.

    Other symptoms include:

    Learn more about occipital neuralgia.

    Rare causes of headaches on the top of the head

    While rare, these causes are medical emergencies.

    Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS)

    This is a rare condition where the blood vessels in the brain constrict, triggering a severe “thunderclap” headache near the top of the head.

    This condition may cause strokes or bleeding in the brain, and other symptoms include severe weakness, seizures, and blurred vision.

    Hypertension headaches

    Hypertension headaches occur when severe high blood pressure causes pressure to build in the cranium. This headache is distinctive, feeling like you’ve pulled your hair tight into a pony tail at the top of your head.

    You may experience a “whooshing” noise during the headache; the pain is severe, and often sends people to the emergency room. Other symptoms may include confusion, shortness of breath, or blurred vision.

    Learn more about hypertension headaches.

    Which muscles are at fault?

    Headaches on the top of the head — especially tension headaches and migraines — are typically caused by just a few muscles.

    The first is a group of muscles called suboccipital muscles, which are responsible for movement between the first and second vertebrae in the neck and the skull. These muscles can become tense due to factors like grinding your teeth, eye strain, or poor posture. This alone can trigger tension headaches and migraines. If these muscles become too tense, they can compress the occipital nerve, causing occipital neuralgia.

    The splenius cervicus and splenius capitus muscles, which run up the neck, can also cause headache pain at the top of the head if they’re too tight. Tension in these muscles can also cause a stiff neck or neck pain in addition to headaches.

    How are headaches on the top of the head treated?

    The first line of defense against headaches will be over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can effectively reduce headache symptoms. For stubborn headaches or migraines, you can try extra-strength Tylenol or Excedrin Migraine. Don’t take both medications together, as they both contain acetaminophen. Taking too much can cause an overdose.

    Getting more sleep, reducing stress, and maintaining good posture (even when sitting) can all help prevent many types of headaches from ever forming. Invest in an ergonomic chair if you’re sitting at a desk for work.

    If overly tense muscles are thought to be the cause of your headaches, your doctor may recommend that you see a massage therapist or chiropractor regularly.

    Source : www.healthline.com

    Scalp tenderness: Symptoms, causes, and treatments

    Scalp tenderness is a common symptom. It may be linked to easily treated issues including sunburns, rashes, and insect bites. Or, it may indicate an underlying condition. These can range from to migraines to hyperthyroidism to an autoimmune disorder. Learn more about causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment here.

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    Scalp tenderness is a fairly common complaint, linked with several medical conditions that affect lots of people.

    Migraines, tension headaches, and autoimmune disorders like psoriasis can all cause the scalp to become inflamed, irritated, and painful. Sunburns, rashes, wounds, and insect bites also commonly cause scalp tenderness.

    Most cases of scalp tenderness clear up on their own or with medication, but some are signs of an underlying condition.

    Symptoms

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    Many different symptoms may be present for scalp tenderness.

    Scalp tenderness is defined as pain, inflammation, tingling, numbness, irritation, itching, throbbing, or sensitivity of the scalp. Often, many of these symptoms appear together, being linked immune processes in response to a variety of conditions.

    Some scalp tenderness is caused by conditions affecting the blood vessels, nerves, and tissues below or surrounding the scalp.

    Often, there are no visible symptoms. Other times, scalp tenderness is painfully obvious, involving peeling, flaking, and scaling of the skin.

    The prevalence of scalp tenderness is not known, but the symptoms are considered fairly common. Scalp tenderness can accompany common conditions such as headaches, allergies, psoriasis, eczema, and hair loss.

    Causes

    Scalp tenderness is linked with many forms of headaches. In particular, scalp tenderness is linked with headaches involving the nerves that run from the back of the neck to the forehead.

    Conditions that cause these nerves to swell or restrict can result in pain that moves throughout the head, neck, and scalp. According to Johns Hopkins University, this pain can appear as hot, intense, electric-like shocks.

    The scalp becomes so sensitive for some people that even a light touch can be painful. In others, the scalp goes numb. This form of nerve pain is rare and usually caused by injury or a spontaneously pinched nerve. Headaches involving these nerves are far more common, however.

    Scalp tenderness is also frequently linked to a range of skin conditions including:

    Many of these conditions cause inflammation, pain, tenderness, flaking of the skin, peeling, and can even make the scalp pus or bleed.

    Dandruff is a common complaint, affecting places of the body where natural oils collect. It can cause red, scaly patches on the scalp. While not a sign of poor hygiene or disease, many people seek treatment out of irritation or embarrassment. Rarely, dandruff can also be caused by fungal infection or ringworm.

    Psoriasis of the scalp can also lead to scalp tenderness and flaking or crusting skin. Unlike dandruff, the skin is dry with a silvery sheen. Stress, hormones, dry air, or cold weather can trigger psoriasis.

    Lichen planus can also cause the scalp to flake or scale. This condition is also usually brought on by periods of stress or as a side effect of medical treatments.

    If extreme, many of these conditions can lead to reversible hair loss.

    Alopecia and hair loss

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    Alopecia may be very traumatic for sufferers.

    A form of hair loss called alopecia areata can also cause scalp tenderness. In this condition, hair follicles fall out in round clumps from the scalp and sometimes the body.

    Alopecia areata presents in patches, while alopecia totalis involves the loss of all hair from the head. Alopecia universalis involves hair loss from the entire body.

    The National Institute of Health

    Trusted Source

    Trusted Source

    (NIH) claim that most forms of alopecia are generally not dangerous to the health or a sign of nerve damage. Instead, they are often the result of immune cells attacking hair follicles.

    Other factors that can cause hair loss include:

    Some women also experience reversible hair loss after childbirth, during hormone therapies, or during menopause.

    In some instances of alopecia, the hair will likely regrow. With other forms, the hair follicle damage is so severe that hair loss is irreversible.

    Other causes of scalp tenderness

    Conditions that affect the skin elsewhere on the body can also present on the scalp. These include:

    Brushing or rubbing the hair while it is wet can break hair follicles, causing hair loss and scalp irritation. Over-brushing can also cause problems.

    While rare, scalp tenderness can be a sign of more severe health conditions such as skin cell cancers and melanomas. These conditions normally present themselves as new or changed moles or stubborn sores.

    Especially painful, severe, or prolonged cases of scalp sensitivity should also be reported to a doctor.

    Diagnosis

    It will normally take a few visits to resolve more persistent or severe conditions causing scalp tenderness.

    Doctors often begin by collecting a medical history and asking questions concerning diet, routine, prior injuries, other conditions, and recent changes.

    Source : www.medicalnewstoday.com

    Headache on Top of Head: What It Means

    Headaches come in all kinds, and almost all of them could cause pain on top of your head. Find out more about the possible causes of your headache pain.

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