I'm 19 years old, female...
For the past two weeks or so I have been experiencing dull, throbbing pain in the top of my head, slightly to the left side. It seems so come on sporadically throughout the day, but worsens when I lie down in bed at night.
I have a tendency towards tense neck and shoulders, and have noticed that upon lying down, the pain seems to move down to the base of my skull on the left side. However, I have never really experienced this sort of pain associated with my neck or shoulder problems before and just want to make sure that this is nothing I should be worried about.
As far as I know I do not have a family history of brain problems.
Thanks for any help I can get..
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.
Without the ability to examine you and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of your symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.
There are several causes of headaches. Headaches can be divided into primary and secondary. Primary headache disorders are headaches without a direct cause. These are diagnosed after secondary causes have been excluded. Secondary headache disorders are due to an underlying problem, there are many many causes but some include medication side effects, infection (systemic or in the central nervous system), brain tumors, and others.
Primary headache disorders are more common than secondary ones. There are several primary headache disorders, over 50 different types. For example migraines, which usually a pulsating throbbing one-sided pain with nausea and discomfort in bright lights that lasts several hours. Another common type is tension type headache.
Once cause of neck pain associated with headache, such as the symptoms you have, is cervicogenic headache.
Cervicogenic headache is a headache that is "referred" to the head from bony structures, muscles, and other soft tissue in the neck and shoulders. Symptoms are usually one-sided and include: precipitation of head pain by neck movement or awkward neck positions, head pain when external pressure is applied to the neck or occipital region, restricted range of motion of the neck, and neck, shoulder and arm pain. Treatment for cervicogenic headache includes physical therapy, medications, behavioral therapy, and other modalities.
A concerning cause of neck pain associated with headache is a dissection: a small tear in the blood vessels that travel up the neck to the brain. This can occur spontaneously in people with certain conditions that affect the blood vessels, after neck trauma, or after chiropractic manipulation of the neck. The pain is often but not always associated with some sort of neurologic deficit as a dissection can often lead to a stroke.
Without further information about your headache, it is difficult to provide you with adequate information. However, it is important for you to understand that if you have not experienced headaches in the past and you are now having new head pains, seeing your physician is a good idea, just to make sure there is nothing serious causing this pain, and imaging (CT or MRI) of the brain may be indicated. For further evaluation and management of your headaches, you may benefit from referral to a neurologist.
Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
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