Headache on Top of Head: Check Out the Causes & Remedies

Have you been asking around these days, “Why do the top of my head hurts?”. Or you have just been hurting with a headache on top of head and worry if it’s serious? Well, you can stop worrying now!

A typical headache happens when overactivity, pressure on some muscles, or underlying diseases may stimulate the pain-sensitive structures in our heads.

These headaches can be at the top of your head, side of your head, forehead, and even behind the eye.

A top of head headache is usually a tension-type headache that’s very common. 

In this article, we’ll help you understand the headaches on top of your head better – why they happen and what you can do about them.

3 Most Common Types of Headache on Top of Head

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Tension Headaches: 

In a tension-type headache, it seems as if someone put a heavyweight on your head. It is a dull pain that can go on from 30 minutes to even days. They are not severely painful as they don’t throb, but they can take away the joy of life.


Migraines can be intense and throbbing. They often come with accompanying symptoms such as nausea and acute light or sound sensitivity.

Chronic Headaches:

If you suffer from migraine or tension-type headaches for long, say 15 days or more, the doctor will diagnose your condition as a chronic headache.

There are other types of headaches that cause pain on top of skull. You will understand them better when you understand the different causes that can lead to the headache top of head.

What Causes a Headache on the Top of Your Head?

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When you have a headache in the back of the head, posture is the common cause. In case, you have pain behind the eyes, it can be an infection, and headache on the side of the head pain can be due to allergies or stress.

But the sharp pain on top of head can be for the following reasons:

1. Caffeine-Withdrawal

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Caffeine narrows the blood vessels surrounding the brain whenever you consume it in any form. But when trying to quit drinking coffee (removing excess caffeine from the system), the blood vessels enlarge.

The result is a sudden rise in blood flow towards the brain and around it. This blood flow puts pressure on the nerves and thus a pressure on top of head that causes such a headache.

To avoid this headache or cure it, go about gradually quitting caffeine instead of going cold-turkey. You can try giving your body some small amount of caffeine at regular intervals, so it doesn’t face any withdrawal symptoms.

2. Bruxism

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Bruxism is a condition in which people grind their teeth at night, causing damage to the muscles, joints in the jaw and skull, and bones. 

This damage can cause pain on top of the head.

You see, there is a group of muscles called the suboccipital muscles. They are in charge of movement between the first and second vertebrae in the neck and the skull.

Grinding your teeth can stress these muscles, causing migraines or tension headaches.

3. Lack of Sleep

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In 2011, Missouri State University researchers conducted a study that connected a lack of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep to intense headaches.

The authors of this study discovered that a lack of sleep causes the body to produce more proteins that cause chronic pain. These proteins appear to lower the body’s pain tolerance. Thus, resulting in severe migraine headaches.

According to another study, half of the Migraine sufferers said they had at least some symptoms of sleeplessness. 38% said they slept for less than 6 hours per night, and 50% said their migraines were triggered by sleep disruptions

A headache caused by a lack of sleep can be called a sleep deprivation headache. You can find relief from it by taking a nap.

4. Head Injury

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After a traumatic brain injury, some people experience headache on top of head due to the surgery they would have had. Another cause of this headache is damage to the brain’s nerve fibers caused by stretching or shearing forces caused by trauma.

The headache can be classified as a chronic tension-type headache.

5. Overuse of Pain Medications for Headaches

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It’s okay to take a pain reliever every once in a while. 

But if your headaches aren’t controlled well, you’ll need to take more and more pain relievers to treat them. 

However, when you stop taking these medications, you may have another headache as a withdrawal symptom from the medicine. 

To make sure you don’t experience a headache on top of your head due to withdrawal of pain relievers, restrict their use. 

How Can You Treat a Headache on Top of Your Head?

1. Medication

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Over-the-counter pain relievers can help treat the headache on top of your head. You can also try non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). For example, ibuprofen, muscle relaxants, and triptans (Relpax, Imitrex, etc). Triptans especially work great for migraines. 

Make sure to consult your doctor about them first. 

2. Warm Showers

Warm showers are a form of heat therapy. They can prevent pain signals from traveling to the brain and increase blood flow. This can calm down the triggered muscles and thus reduce your pain in the head.

3. Massages

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According to the American Massage Therapy Association, a scalp massage can help relieve tension headaches by reducing the intensity, duration, and frequency of the pain. 

You might feel relaxed after a head massage because it relaxes the muscles in your neck which connect to the head.

4. Trigger Removal

Some headaches happen due to specific reasons. For example, they can be because of withdrawing caffeine or pain relievers. If we remove this cause, we can remove the headache on top of the head.

Here’s what you should do if you have:

Caffeine-Withdrawal Headache: 

Consume caffeine at regular intervals, consistently. If you want to quit, gradually reduce the amount before stopping altogether. Try less caffeinated food like chocolates or tea instead of coffee.

Medication-Overuse Headache: 

Take a pain reliever only when absolutely necessary. Do not take medicine every time you are in pain. Try natural or ayurvedic solutions like turmeric milk instead, to treat headaches on top of your head.

Sleep Deprivation Headache: 

Start by taking a nap. Take good care of your head by getting quality sleep every night. Try sleeping early and avoid any blue light screens like phones and tv late in the night to make sure of it.


Ask a doctor for help. Try to relax before sleep every night because stress is one of the primary factors in bruxism. Use a mouth guard to protect your muscles and jaw, in case you grind your teeth anyway. Massaging the jaw may also help.

Also Read: Waking Up With Headaches: Types, Causes, Remedies And More

Wrapping Up

Now you know why you may have headaches on your skull and what to do about it. 

There are several types of headaches on top of your head that you may have, and the best way to know about them and treat them is by consulting a doctor. But in case you don’t have time for that, start with some of the methods we shared in this article today.

Want to know more about types of headaches? Check out this headache chart.

For more health-related information, visit Healthclubfinder.

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