Three causes of tension headaches in the back of the head

Tension headaches tend to start in the back of the head, and they can be caused by many factors. Learn three common factors that can cause them.

Tension headaches tend to creep up on a person. They often start as stiffness in the neck or shoulders and feel like they slowly move toward your forehead, and many people deal with them every day. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one-third of the men and half of the women in the world have headaches on any given day. The factors that cause tension headaches are numerous, but there are three causes that commonly lead to tension headaches that start in the back of the head. 

1.   Poor posture

Posture is the way you hold your body while sitting or standing, and most people have a problem with it. Many people spend hours every day staring down at a laptop or cellphone screen. The forward bending of the head and neck that this leads to is a postural problem that can lead to tension headaches that start in the back of your head. The easiest way to counteract this type of poor posture is to be aware of it and try to improve it. 

2.   Stress

If you pay attention to your body while you’re stressed, you’ll likely notice that your muscles are clenched and tight. An example is sitting with your shoulders under your ears as you work furiously to finish an important work document on time. Letting this type of stress reaction take over your shoulders and neck could be the reason tension headaches start in the back of your head. After all, each of the shoulder blades is lifted by a muscle called the levator scapulae. One end of this muscle attaches to the base of your skull, and tension in it can be the spark that lights off a tension headache. 

3.   Fatigue

It might not seem like fatigue could cause tension headaches that start in the back of your head. Yet it’s actually a common reason people develop this type of headache. When your body and mind are fatigued, you don’t pay as much attention to your posture. Similarly, muscle fatigue makes it hard to maintain good posture in the first place. The combination of these fatigue-related issues often leads to excess neck tension and, in turn, a high chance of developing a tension headache. 

Visit Whatcom Physical Therapy to find help preventing tension headaches that start in the back of the head

Knowing how to head off tension headaches that begin in the back of the head is a priceless gift. At Whatcom Physical Therapy, our team can help you get this gift. Our complimentary screenings can help us figure out what factors lead to your headaches. We can then build you a personalized headache treatment and prevention plan, and your plan could include therapy methods like: 

Contact our team today for more information about headache treatment or prevention or to schedule an initial appointment.