A throbbing pain in the back of the head can seriously disrupt the daily life for a person. The constant pain and pressure in the head causes them to lose focus and their productivity at work suffers. Relaxing activities become less fun when afflicted by a constant dull pain. Aches of this kind typically also radiate down to the neck and shoulders. Throbbing headaches are caused by a variety of things, the most common of which are sitting at a computer for a long period of time, stress and psychological or social pressure and even simply being in a noisy location for a while.
Most of the time, a throbbing headache is not part of a serious medical problem and will usually dissipate relatively quickly. Some headaches of this kind are caused by migraine, for which a direct cause has not yet been found. It is thought that abnormal brain activity causes migraine headaches. Migraine is more common in women and is possibly a hereditary condition, meaning it is passed down from parents to children. Other symptoms associated with migraine are nausea and vomiting, light sensitivity and disruption of sight.
Cluster headaches can also cause intensely painful throbbing headaches. It is a serious condition that can cause headaches on one side of the head every day for months at a time. Cluster headaches are most common among teenagers and people between the ages of 40 and 50. Heavy smoking and/or drinking can also contribute to the appearance of cluster headaches.
A stressed person or a person whose shoulder, scalp or neck muscles are strained may suffer from tension headaches. These are characterised by a throbbing pain behind the eyes or at the back of the head and are caused by various factors including irregular sleeping patterns or a lack of sleep, psychological anxiety and overexertion of the body.
Sinusitis can also cause throbbing headaches due to the pressure build-up in the nasal cavity. Older people may experience headaches of this kind due to an inflammation of or damage to the brain's blood vessels. In some rare situations, a throbbing headache can be the sign of a tumor or stroke, or perhaps even an infection of the brain (usually encephalitis or meningitis). These conditions necessitate immediate attention from a doctor to prevent them from getting worse or possibly proving to be fatal. Bear in mind that these are quite rare.
Rest and relaxation taken in a dark and quiet environment can do wonders to relieve a throbbing headache. Relaxing the muscles of the neck and the shoulders can help reduce the tension and alleviate the strain. Massaging the neck or applying a cold compress or ice pack can also be beneficial.
Alcohol, cheese and chocolate should be avoided for those who suffer from frequent throbbing headaches, as those can trigger headaches normally. Prescription or over the counter medications can help alleviate the pain but may not eliminate the causes.