Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why does my head ache at the top and base of skull?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy does my head ache at the top and base of skull?


My head aches at the top and sometimes I have a burning sensation there and a tenderness. Along with it I feel a pull at the base of my head/top of my head. If I don't take painkillers it often turns into a throbbing headache.


It sounds like your headaches are quite unpleasant! From your symptoms, it sounds like there could be several different explanations for your headache. Migraine headaches, tension headaches, or trigeminal neuralgia can all sometimes present like the symptoms you describe. Determining what type of headache you have, as well as the best way to treat it, is best accomplished by further discussion with your primary care physician or possibly a neurologist who specializes in headaches. It will be very helpful for you to keep a log of your headaches so that when you meet with your physician you can be as specific as possible about when the headaches start, how long they last, what other factors they might be associated with (sensitivity to light or sound, for example), and what makes them better or worse. Your doctor will also want to do a thorough neurologic exam to make sure there aren't any signs of any other systemic illnesses. Once a diagnosis is made, it can often take several weeks to get a headache under control with medication. Here again, it will be very helpful for you to keep a log of what works and what doesn't so your doctor can help adjust your medications.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.