T Nation

Shooting Pain in Back of Head

I was hoping someone might be able to identify the cause of these headaches. They occur at the back of my head, on the left side, above the neck by a couple inches. It feels like a shooting pain through my skull, at about the size of a nickel. These headaches have been getting me for the past week or so, and any insight anyone could give would be appreciated.

Have you gone to a doctor?

Have you been under unusual stress lately? I store my tension in my shoulders/neck and when I am abnormally stressed I get headaches similar to what you describe. Shooting pains, dizziness, inability to focus eyes, etc. I used to be worried about it but have grown to learn it’s just me being stressed out. If this may be a possibility, try a hot bath (or heating pad if a bath is too girly) and have someone with great hands try to rub it out for you. It can’t hurt to try it (as a preventative measure, if you wait till you have a headache it’ll probably be too late to affect it) and if it doesn’t help, definitely go see a doc. Good luck!

I get an intense pain in the same location once in awhile. I’ll twinge my neck (just LOOK the wrong way) and zoowie! Massive Pain. It’s not a head-ache, but I’ve learned that it’s definitaly due to neck-health. Since your pain is in the same place, it might be the same reason? I did neck-stretching for a couple weeks, and actually haven’t felt the pain in awhile.

I haven’t been to the doctor for it… it isn’t that bad that I need to drop that kind of $$. ~karma~, I think I’ll try your suggestion and see if it helps, and I’ll try El’s suggestions of the neck stretches, as well.

I got this pretty bad over the summer when I was doing military presses. I just massaged the back of my neck and made sure that I was breathing throught my sets. I did not get the headache again after about a week of this.

Can you relate the pains to any behaviours? A couple of years ago I had similar pains that I finally linked to doing Breathing Squats. I’m not sure if it was the massive intake of oxygen, or a weak link in my neck musculature (but I suspect the latter). I wouldn’t get them during the set, but nearly every day that I did them I would get a headache like that.

When I stopped doing Breathing Squats (I still do squats, just not those), I stopped getting them.

Have you started a new exercise, or new routine recently?

There is a doctor in your future, go sooner than later.

I can’t say that I’ve changed my training since this started… and I definitely haven’t added anything ‘new.’ I think this may be a posture related problem, as I tend to put my head forward a lot (rather than keeping the neck closer to vertical). It’s a bad habit from sitting at the computer and reading books.

pat, why do you say that there is “a doctor in my future?” Do you have any additional info, or is that just your hunch? My parents have cut off my medical insurance now that I’m over 21 (but still in school), so just popping in for a doctor’s visit really isn’t economical.