Log in
National Migraine Centre
6,649 members1,852 posts

Throbbing pain back of the skull ?

Hi I just posted about taking aspirin

Now I'm asking another question ☺

A week ago I had severe pain at the back of my head , were the neck meets the skull and it was throbbing like a heart beat .

I have had the same pain over the last 4 to to years and its my worst head pain i ever get , its terrible horrid pain .

If i move my head it throbs more and harder , so i need to lay very still to lower the throbbing.

Is this a migraine?

Everywhere I read it says migraine is around the face not back of the head , so I'm not really sure.

During the head pain i do feel slightly lightheaded .

The pains so bad it makes me so anxious .

Any in put would be appritated ☺

11 Replies

Could be Occipital Neuralgia:



Sounds like Occipital Neuralgia, which can then trigger a migraine.


Hello again Allison! I just replied to your other question too. :-)

I also get this back of head / top of neck throbbing pain as well as shoulder pain - it's almost daily/chronic and also gets worse when I move or bend over. I also feel lightheaded with it - I can't tell if that's from the physical pain or from my head feeling too heavy for my neck (something weird like that!) or from vertigo feelings. It is anxiety-inducing, I agree.

This is a regular migraine symptom apparently (say neurologists - well, ones I've seen). The migraine 'generator' in the brain is thought to be at the base of the skull (i.e. where the nerves converge) so it's likely that the miscommunication of nerves is also sending pain messages to the neck and back of head (and shoulder).

Again, at the Migraine Trust meeting in Exeter, they discussed this and said it was a very common, over-looked migraine feature. They also said that massage is probably the best relief (and pain-killing NSAIDs). Not chiro or osteopath treatments though as they deal with the bones; whereas this is a nerve issue. Massage can help release muscle tension around the nerves and help a bit.

Clearly massage won't stop the pain but it stops the escalation - I know for me, once I have this pain, I start to feel more and more tense, I hold my head/neck strangely to deal with it, and I end up feeling physically tight with my shoulders up by my ears! This makes it all worse in the long-run. So if I get a massage it seems to stop me making it worse. If you know what I mean.

Sorry... this is long. I got carried away. Procrastinating while working at home... I hope you feel better soon. Take care :-)



I have hemicrania continua and have been visiting a chiropractor every 2 weeks for neck and shoulders. It really helps me and frees up the muscles alot. However ive tried other things like 6 sessions of accupunture and had no benefit but other have. Its trial and error as we are all different. Good luck


Hi thanks for writing me

Do your neck muscles become stiff or tight ?

Then you get the face pain ?

Thanks heaps ☺



My neck muscles get Very tight and painful but its not the neck then the head its both together! The chiropractor releases the muscles under manipulation and deep massage.

I cant say the neck and daily pain in my head are linked but i believe that i need to keep my neck and shoulders supple. Biofreeze which the chiropractor uses is really good at easing the neck pain as my consultant will not allow any pain medication but i am on long term preventative treatment and had nerve blocks too! Hope you find something that helps! Ive had to give up work because of it!

Good luck

Hope this helps


Hi thanks for writing me

You sound just like me , my shoulders and neck also feel sore and I have constant facial pain .

Also I feel like my shoulders are up near my ears , when the pain is peaking or if im feeling really stressed and if the pain states i do tend to tense my shoulders up more.

I do get physiotherapy and massage on my neck and it does lower the pain for a few weeks . If i have my neck worked on the pain keeps getting worse and worse .

It is really interesting that the back of the head is were migrains start in the brain .

I have had head pain since i was roughly 18 im now 33 , when i was younger the face pain was severe and throbbing . As ive gotten older the face pain has become daily and much more milder , so its confusing if im still having migrains .

Thanks for your detailed reply

Really appritated it ☺


Hi I wrote you a reply but replied to the wrong person lol

I wrote your name at the end of the reply if you scrol though the lower posts ☺


Totally migraine. The pain can be anywhere. Mine is mostly neck. A Neurologist said be wary of what you read about the common symptoms of migraine. They have to write something but symptoms can be so diverse. For example they say time wise a few to 72 hrs. Mine like a lot of people’s is constant.

Find the Reddit page for migraine. So many contributions and stories. Migraine is complete unique.


Hi thank you for taking the time to write me

Do you mind explaining how your migrains start in your neck?

Do you get tight muscles and does the pain come around your face or is it just at the back of your head ?

You said you have constant pain , is the pain severe , mild or moderate ?

I have chronic neck and face pain and its mild mostly daily with bad flare ups .

Thanks again ☺


Yes constant but mild. Tight neck. When it first occurred I thought i had fibromyalgia or something like that because the headache wasn’t bad. When I turn my head my neck hurts like when you have flu. But yes it’s constant.

I have far worse symptoms than a headache. It is so misleading.


You may also like...