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Why do I get these random prolonged headaches?

They include light sensitivity, and I get them when I take naps on a hot day, when I'm dehydrated, or smoke too many cigarettes. They only affect the back of my head, and they seem to make my neck sore too. Otherwise I never get headaches except for a random recurring sharp and intense pain near the crown of my skull.
The type of headache you are describing is most likely a tension headache. This is one of the most common types of headaches. They are often described as a tight squeezing feeling that starts in the neck and moves over the crown towards both sides of the head. Although light sensitivity is more of a feature of migraine headaches, it can be seen in tension headaches as well. Finally, tension headaches have been known to last for days if left untreated. On the other hand, migraine headaches are usually described as one sided (for example behind one eye) and throbbing in nature. They usually don't affect the neck. They often are triggered by sleep disturbances and dehydration. Thus it is possible that this is what you are suffering from. Your doctor will be able to distinguish between the two which is important because the treatments are different. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can listen to the description of your headaches and perform a simple neurological exam. Your doctor may recommend some neck stretching or exercises that may help relieve the tension. In addition, you doctor may give you a prescription for some anti-inflammatory drugs or acetaminophen.
This answer 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 or (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.

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