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"Why do I have this pain in the back of my head??"

ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have this pain in the back of my head??


I am a 20 year old male who has been having pain in the back of the head for about a month now. It has gotten increasingly worse and now two bones around the occipital lobe region are very painful, swollen, and tender to touch. I have not tried anything to make it better. I have also felt for around the same time that there is something in my right eye that I can't get out. I went to an optometrist and they could not find anything, but I know I feel something bothering my eye. I tried to search for it and get it out, but I as well could not find anything. I do not know if these two are related, but I would really like to know what could this possibly be. Thanks.


I'm sorry to hear that you are so uncomfortable! I definitely think these symptoms are worth a trip to see your primary care doctor, at your earliest convenience. They can perform a complete physical examination and help figure out what might be going on. The painful swollen areas in the back of your head might be two things. First, these could be swollen occipital lymph nodes, or glands. The occipital lymph nodes can be swollen for a number of reasons, usually due to an infection in the scalp, throat, or neck region. However, rarely, persistent swelling of these glands can be a serious problem, such as a lymphoma. Second, these swollen tender areas could be a bad case of muscle spasm or tension in your neck. Obviously, its important to distinguish between these two causes, as the treatments and work up are very different! It should however be easy for your doctor to figure this out on examination. I cannot immediately think of any common cause linking the sensation of something in your eye to swelling in the back of your neck. Some rare rheumatologic conditions might cause "dry eyes" which could feel like something is stuck in your eye together with pain or soreness in various muscles groups in the body, and this is something your doctor can consider.

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