Q. I have intense pain in the back of my head. Is this something dangerous?

Answered by
Dr. Aida Abaz Quka
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 19, 2018 and last reviewed on: Oct 31, 2022

Hello doctor,

I have had an off-and-on intense pain in the back right of my head (not at the base of my neck. In the occipital area). It started a week ago. It comes and goes very quickly, feels like a very intense stabbing feeling, then stops. It can happen a few times or several times in the day. I do not have any other neurological symptoms. I have had occipital neuralgia after a car accident before and have a history of tension headaches, and this does not feel like either of those. In the past year, I have had an MRI (for vision issues), and I think it was with contrast dye, but I cannot remember. I also had a CT scan after I had a melanoma removed. No dye with that one. I am afraid I have something dangerous in my head because I have this intense, localized, intermittent pain in the same spot.



Welcome to

Your symptoms are not suggestive of any serious medical disorder (including a brain tumor). You should know that a brain tumor usually does not cause an intermittent sharp pain (which is typical of nerve pain), but progressive headaches mainly during the night and in lying down position, with nausea in the morning. Other symptoms, like blurring vision, gait problems, etc., may be present. So, you can understand that it does not seem to be your case.

Occipital neuralgia seems to be the most probable cause of your complaints, although you say to have a different type of pain. Coming to this point, I suggest taking Indomethacin twice daily (if there are no contraindications) for some days, coupled with an antiacid or PPI (Omeprazole) to protect your stomach. Hope you will find this answer helpful.

Hi doctor.

Thank you the reply.

And you do not think it could be a brain aneurysm?



Welcome back to

No, I do not think it is a brain aneurysm. Aneurysms do not cause such a type of headache. They are usually nonsymptomatic and may lead to cranial bleeding.

Besides, as you have previously performed a brain MRI, it is less likely that you suffer from a brain aneurysm. They are usually from birth. New aneurysms during life are usually related to connective tissue disorders or uncontrolled hypertension. So, it is not your case. You should try to relax about this.

Does pressure on that point trigger headache? This would be another argument in favor of occipital neuralgia, as the nerve lies on the surface and can be irritated by manual pressure or head movements.

Hope to have clarified some of your uncertainties.

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