headache

What causes a headache behind the ears?

A headache behind the ears can be a debilitating condition that can significantly affect a person’s quality of life. This type of headache can vary in intensity and duration, and it can be caused by a variety of factors. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the common causes of headaches behind the ears, their symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

What is a Headache Behind the Ears?

A headache behind the ears is a type of headache that occurs in the area behind the ear. This type of headache can be felt on one or both sides of the head and can range from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing pain. The pain may be constant or intermittent and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Common Causes of Headaches Behind the Ears

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are one of the most common causes of headaches behind the ears. These headaches are caused by muscle tension in the head and neck area, which can be due to stress, poor posture, or physical strain. Tension headaches typically present as a dull ache that is felt on both sides of the head and can be accompanied by tightness in the neck and shoulders.

Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches are a type of headache that originates from the cervical spine or neck area. These headaches can be caused by a variety of factors such as poor posture, whiplash, arthritis, or a herniated disc in the neck. Cervicogenic headaches typically present as a dull ache that is felt on one side of the head, neck, and shoulder. The pain may be worsened by certain neck movements or positions.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the skull. This condition can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw, ear, and head area, and can be a cause of headaches behind the ears. TMJ headaches typically present as a dull, throbbing pain that is felt on one or both sides of the head and can be accompanied by clicking or popping sounds in the jaw.

Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital neuralgia is a condition that affects the occipital nerves, which run from the spinal cord to the back of the head. This condition can cause pain and discomfort in the back of the head and neck area, and can be a cause of headaches behind the ears. Occipital neuralgia headaches typically present as a sharp, stabbing pain that is felt on one side of the head and can be accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound.

Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches are a type of headache that is characterized by recurrent episodes of moderate to severe pain that is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine headaches can be a cause of headaches behind the ears, as the pain can be felt in the back of the head and neck area. Migraine headaches typically present as a throbbing pain that is felt on one side of the head, and the pain can be worsened by physical activity.

Sinusitis

Sinusitis is a condition that affects the sinuses, which are air-filled spaces in the skull that are connected to the nasal passages. This condition can cause inflammation and congestion in the sinuses, which can lead to headaches behind the ears. Sinusitis headaches typically present as a dull, pressure-like pain that is felt in the forehead, cheekbones, and behind the ears. Other symptoms of sinusitis can include congestion, a runny nose, and a fever.

Marie Salbuvik

Dietician
MS, Lund University, Sweden

Nutrition plays an important role in human life. Eating habits are one of the factors that affect our health. There is often a misconception among people that nutritionists force a very restrictive diet, but that is not true. In fact, I don't ban any products, but I point out dietary mistakes and help change them by giving tips and new recipes that I've tried myself. I advise my patients not to resist change and to be purposeful. Only with willpower and determination can a good result be achieved in any area of life, including changing eating habits. When I don't work, I love to go climbing. On a Friday evening, you are most likely to find me on my couch, cuddling with my dog and watching some Netflix.

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