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Pain at the top of the head: 5 main causes (and what to do)


Pain at the top of the head is an uncommon situation, but it is not normally related to serious situations, and is usually related to excessive tiredness and tension in the neck muscles that can occur due to inadequate posture, for example.

However, when pain at the top of the head is accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, nausea or changes in vision, for example, it may be indicative of more serious situations such as hypertension or occipital neuralgia, for example.

Therefore, if the pain at the top of the head is frequent and/or is accompanied by other symptoms, it is important that the doctor is consulted so that the cause of the pain can be identified and the most appropriate treatment can be initiated.

What could be your pain on the top of your head?

To identify the possible cause of pain at the top of your head, answer the following questions:

This tool should only be used to try to identify the possible cause of pain at the top of the head. Therefore, it should not replace a consultation with a doctor, who is the professional responsible for confirming the diagnosis and recommending the most appropriate treatment.

Main causes of pain at the top of the head

The main causes of pain at the top of the head are:

1. Tension headache

Tension headache is a change that can occur due to the contraction and stiffening of the neck muscles due to excessive stress, anxiety, depression or as a result of poor posture. Thus, as a consequence of these factors, there is the appearance of a throbbing or pulsing headache, mainly on the forehead, but which can also appear on the top of the head.

What to do: To relieve the headache characteristic of tension headaches, it is recommended to relax and have a head massage, for example, as this helps to alleviate the pain. Additionally, the use of anti-inflammatory medications or analgesics may be indicated to relieve tension headache pain. Find out how tension headaches are treated.

2. Migraine

Migraine corresponds to severe headache that lasts between 3 and 72 hours and may be recurrent. This situation is quite uncomfortable and can be triggered by several factors, including excessive use of painkillers, excessive caffeine consumption or neurological changes.

Although migraine-related headaches occur mainly in the lateral region, they can also radiate to the top of the head, in addition to being accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, changes in appetite and decreased quality of sleep. See more about migraines.

What to do: It is important that the neurologist is consulted so that medications can be indicated to relieve migraine pain, which may include the use of anti-inflammatories, analgesics, triptans or anticonvulsants, for example, according to the symptoms presented by the person and the characteristics of the condition. pain.

3. Fatigue

Excessive tiredness can also lead to pain at the top of the head, especially when the person sleeps only a few hours a day. This causes the body and mind to become tired, resulting not only in headaches, but also decreased mood, tired eyesight, decreased productivity and difficulty concentrating.

What to do: In these cases, it is important to look for ways to rest and relax, this way it is possible to regain energy and relieve headaches. Massage, physical activity, yoga and a good night's sleep may be options.

4. Neuralgia occipital

Occipital neuralgia, also known as occipital neuralgia, corresponds to the inflammation of the nerves present in the occipital region, which can happen due to systemic disease, trauma or the presence of a tumor, for example.

This situation is mainly characterized by intense and constant pain in the head, which worsens when moving the neck. Although the headache most often appears in the back of the head, it can also radiate to the top and to the region close to the ears.

What to do: Treatment for occipital neuralgia is indicated by the neurologist according to the symptoms presented by the person, and head massages, rest, use of medication or surgery may be recommended in the most serious cases.

5. Hypertension

Hypertension, which corresponds to an increase in blood pressure, normally does not lead to the appearance of signs or symptoms, however, when there is a rapid increase in blood pressure, generally above 180/110 mmHg, a hypertensive crisis is characterized, in which one of the symptoms It is a headache that starts in the occipital region and migrates to the top of the head.

In addition to headache, other symptoms that may appear in a hypertensive crisis are blurred vision, changes in breathing rhythm, dizziness and mental confusion. Learn how to identify a hypertensive crisis.

What to do: A hypertensive crisis is a medical emergency and, therefore, as soon as signs and symptoms of a crisis appear, it is important to check the person's blood pressure and take them to the hospital so that other tests can be carried out and appropriate treatment can be started, if possible, thus, avoiding complications such as bleeding and stroke, for example.

In the hospital, treatment is carried out through the administration of medications to reduce blood pressure, in addition to recommendations on lifestyle changes, such as reducing salt consumption and regular physical activity.