The occurrence of a headache usually results from stress, tension, tiredness, muscle tightness, or overuse of medications. However, a headache can also be caused by some more serious conditions, diseases, or tumors.

If you experience a chronic pain in your head, especially one which is accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea and dizziness, you should immediately consult your doctor.

Sharp Pain in the Back of Your Head

Various factors can contribute to the appearance of a sharp pain in the back of your head. This type of pain can be caused when your brain is affected by the nerves of the blood vessels surrounding your skull, the muscles at the back of your head and neck, or a chemical activity in your brain.

Being aware of the causes of your headaches can help you to treat and prevent the occurrence of pain in the back of your head. Here are the main causes of pain in the back of the head.

Coughing Headache

A coughing headache is a sharp pain in the back of your head, which appears when you are coughing, sneezing, bending over, or blowing your nose.

The main cause of this type of headaches remains unknown. In order to prevent them, you should avoid any action that can put pressure on your brain, such as sneezing.

Tight Muscle Headache

These types of headaches are characterized by an appearance of pain in the back of your head and neck, as well as stiffness in your shoulders and neck.

The main causes of this kind of pain are sleeping with a pillow that cannot support your head properly, holding your head in one position for a prolonged period of time, injury in your neck or spine, or tension which results from stress.

Tension Headache

Tension headaches start at the back of the head and continue toward the front. These types of headaches are caused by tiredness, emotional stress, low iron levels, fatigue, bad posture, and hunger. Apart from experiencing pain in your head, you can also be sensitive to noise or light.

Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital neuralgia is a medical condition which causes a chronic pain in the back of your head. Often, the pain occurs only on one side of the head. This type of pain is caused by a nerve inflammation at the back of the head.


Migraines usually cause severe pain which starts around your eyes and temple and spreads to the back of your head.

This pain is often accompanied by poor concentration, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to sound and light.

Most commonly, the migraines are preceded by partial loss of vision, flashing lights, numbness, or speech problems.

These types of headaches can be triggered by different factors, including stress, depression, fatigue, hormonal imbalance, muscle tension, certain foods, and caffeine.

Brain Tumor

In certain cases, a sharp pain in the back of the head can be a sign of a brain tumor. Nevertheless, this is not the most common symptom of this disease.

Arthritis Headache

The people who suffer from arthritis commonly experience pain in the back of the head and neck. This pain is caused by an inflammation of the facet joints in the cervical spine between the base of the head and the shoulders.