It is not uncommon for people to ask, "Hey, why do I always experience sharp pain in the back of my head?" Headaches are common, but they usually indicate another condition or problem. Sometimes, you experience headaches due to stress, and on other occasions, it could be due to a tumor. It is therefore a good idea to see your doctor if you're experience headaches consistently, especially if you notice pain in the back right side of head.

Sharp Pain in the Back of My Head, What Could It Be?

Many people ask, "Why am I feeling sharp pain in the back of my head?" There's no clear answer because it could happen due to so many reasons. For instance:

Muscle Tension and Fatigue

You notice twinges of pain along the back of your neck and the sides of your head for a number of different reasons, including muscle tension and fatigue. Do you sit in one position for extended hours? If yes, this may well be the reason why you feel pain in the back of your head. Save yourself from stress, and you won't find yourself asking, "Why am I experiencing sharp pain in the back of my head?"



If you're noticing throbbing pain with neurological disturbances, you may be suffering from migraine. This chronic headache may accompany by auras, which is a feeling that warns you about a migraine attack. Not only will you notice pain behind your neck and head, you will experience pain behind your eyes as well. Other symptoms of migraines include nausea, severe head pain, and increased sensitivity to sounds, light, and smells.


Tension Headaches

The pain on the right side of your head may be due to tension. The tension-type headaches are quite common, but there is no exact explanation of why they affect some people. You will experience low- to medium-intensity pain and it will feel as if a band of pain is around your head. Other symptoms of tension headaches include pressure on the any side of your head, achy head pain, loss of appetite, and tenderness in the muscles of your neck, scalp, or shoulders. The pain usually subsides within half an hour.


Ice Pick Headaches

While these headaches can be short, they can be extremely intense and terrifying. You may experience the pain for five seconds only, but it will feel as if someone is sticking an ice pick into your head. It can strike anywhere in your head and may also occur in or behind your ears.


Exercise and Sex

You may experience pain in the head after a sexual intercourse with your partner – you may feel the same after strenuous exercise. Sometimes, the pain can be extremely severe – the experts call it orgasmic headache. You can, however, consider taking ibuprofen or OTC non-steroidal at least half an hour before intercourse to prevent this type of headache. If it strikes you suddenly and is extremely severe, you may go see your doctor for further evaluation.


Occipital Neuralgia

The occipital nerves run from the top of your spinal cord and go at the base of your neck. An injury to these nerves may lead to inflammation and cause a neurological condition called occipital neuralgia. The symptoms look quite similar to migraine, which often makes this condition go untreated. You usually experience intense jabbing shock like pain in the back of your neck and head. Other symptoms include pain behind your eyes, pain on the sides of your head, sensitivity to light, pain with neck movement, tender scalp, and throbbing pain that originates from the base of your head and goes to the scalp.


Trigeminal Neuralgia

If you're noticing pain in back of head on right side, this could be due to a conditional called trigeminal neuralgia. This chronic condition can be quite painful and affect the biggest nerves of your head called fifth cranial nerve or trigeminal nerve. You will be experiencing successive bouts of severe, sudden burning face pain that may last for a couple of minutes. You experience the pain every time a blood vessel compresses your trigeminal nerve.


Temporal Arteritis

Characterized by damage or inflammation to arteries that bring blood to your head, the condition can cause severe pain to the right side of your head. It usually affects the arteries at the back of your neck and can cause inflammation in the trunk, neck, and upper extremities – it's then called giant cell arteritis. A weak immune response is usually the underlying issue here, but you may also acquire this due to heavy antibiotic use.


Arthritis Headaches

You may notice headaches if you're a patient of arthritis. Depending on the location of your arthritis, your head pain may be mild or severe. The arthritis of the spine and neck is more likely to cause headaches and neck pain. You usually experience arthritis headaches due to bone changes in the shape of your neck. If what you're experiencing is arthritis headache, it will become worse with movement.


Rebound Headaches

Frequent use of certain pain relief medications may lead to headaches. You may experience pain in the back of your head or feel it cover your entire head. Rebound headaches are extremely consistent and occur every day – they usually last the day. If you're using painkillers 10 or more times a month, you may eventually develop rebound headaches. Other symptoms associated with rebound headache are restlessness, anxiety, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.


Brain Tumor

If you're experiencing sharp pain specifically in the left side of your head, this could be due to a brain tumor. It can affect your normal brain function and you notice excessive pressure within your skill. It may also damage brain tissues and nerves, which will produce several symptoms, including persistent head pain, vision problems, loss of sensation in your extremities, hearing loss, dizziness, behavior changes, and speaking difficulties.


You should consult your doctor immediately if your headache is gradually becoming severe or you also have a rash, fever, or neck stiffness with pain in the back of your head. You should also seek medical attention if you experience headaches with a red eye, headaches that lead to cognitive changes, headaches after an injury or trauma, and headaches along with tenderness or soreness in the jaw or temple area.


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  • AL ZAug.6 06:28
    "Seek immediate help, especially if you notice pain in the back of your head on the right side." "If you're experiencing sharp pain specifically in the left side of your head, this could be due to a brain tumor" ...That sounds like something that should immediately be seen too.
  • EmelineJun.15 15:08
    I'm a child only and at school I kept getting this sharp pain on the left side of my head quite low down near my neck. It only stays there for about 40 secs then goes and then in about like a few minutes it happens again. what should I do I'm really worried??
  • LSMay.21 18:33
    I have severe, debilitating pain at the left base of my skull when I do things like exert a lot of effort to open a jar, etc. It only lasts for about 15 seconds, but during that time, it hurts so bad I can't move. They started about 25 years ago when I had what felt like a stick of dynamite exploded inside the base of my skull and made me lurch forward. That headache sent me to the ER, where they found my BP was extremely high, sent me home with blood pressure medicine, and had me come back in 2 weeks for a lumbar puncture which of course didn't find anything. Has anyone else had anything similar to this, or any ideas what it could be?
  • KateApr.29 23:29
    hi does anyone know why I could be having striking pain on the left side on my head and I get very dizzy and my vision gets blurry does anyone have an idea why ?
  • Darryl teraniaApr.9 10:53
    Hi I'm Darryl 25 ,years old from Philippines I suffer sharp pain on the lower back of my head...what should I do..any home happens to me 3days already and as you said maybe it's because what I have done everyday like what you reason hope you will help me..thanks and godbless
  • TeresaFeb.25 03:37
    I notice for last few months the right side of my head in the templet sometimes a pain goes thur for about 30 seconds to a minute . It feel sometime like if your feet goes to sleep and the pain it has when u try to get it out. Sometime mild pain will come for few seconds and I'll take my fingers and try to rub it out. Its getting more noticeable, Anyone have had the same problem or any ideal what it is? I would really like to know.
  • rahul damorJan.9 15:23
    hello I'm only 19th I have pain in my back of head after long time of period . when I had jumped on the floor suddenly I had pain of back head. it's so hurting me sometime I was a bieng angry and strees so much it is the reason for that?
  • MikeDec.25 08:03
    I have extremely sharp pain in the back of my head on the right side, and although I am not very active and don't sleep much, I have never had this problem before. I don't feel like I'm dying or anything serious but I have a weird feeling in my forehead and it is difficult to think/process information and I have frequent pain. Also, my memory seems to be worsening and I feel physically tired often. The pain seems to come and go every 15 minutes or so. Any idea what it could be?
  • HarishMar.31 23:47
    @ : Hi Mike, hope you are doing well. Are you able to cure this? can you please let me know if you find reason for this.
  • durgeshmahant74Jun.18 08:58
    @ : I m also suffring frm this prblm Can u get the reasion why!! Tell me mike & r u feel bater
  • JillOct.21 00:22
    My son was diagnosed with Chiari Syndrome........difficult to explain without pictures, but the doctor basically told him (when he was 12 years old) that his brain was too big for his skull. Very simplistic explanation for an undiagnosed birth defect. He had surgery to fix the issue, and he is now headache free and able to live a long healthy life. Chiari can be a painful condition for small children, and left undiagnosed continue to have effects into adulthood. Lots of general information on line. Not common, but often causes back of the head headaches.
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