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Home Health Headache When Lying Down: Causes, Treatment, and More

Headache When Lying Down: Causes, Treatment, and More

Headaches. Who hasn’t had them, right? But not many people have their headaches get worse when lying down. And sometimes, when you lie down, they can get better. Or you can even get a headache when you lie down.

It really depends on what type of headache you have, so you should know why you have headaches and what you can do to prevent or better them.

If you have chronic headaches, don’t worry. This extensive guide will tell you everything you need to know about headaches. And why they can get worse or better when you lie down and when you should worry about your headaches.

Different Headache Types And Causes

Headaches can range in painfulness. They can just be annoying to plain painful. You can get headaches in different parts of your head. Usually, you can identify which cause you to have according to the symptoms.

If you can’t, don’t hesitate to contact your local doctor. Here are the different headache types and the different causes. These could explain why you have a headache. The tension creates the pain, which creates the headache.

Back Of The Neck And Neck Pain

If you experience pain on the back of your neck or your neck in general, it could be one of four things. Here are the four possible reasons for this type of headache:

  • Bad posture. This first reason is pretty self-explanatory. If you have a bad posture, this will create tension in your neck, shoulders, and back, which can cause a headache.
  • Arthritis. If you have an inflammation in your neck and the inflammation swells, you probably have an arthritis headache. This will cause pain and tension in the neck and head.

Also, if you have arthritis, you probably will suffer from arthritis headaches more often. The two most common arthritis types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Occipital Neuralgia. This is a condition that can happen if nerves from the scalp and spinal cord are damaged. If you get this type of headache, you might mistake it for migraine. The pain from occipital neuralgia is sharp, and you’ll feel pain at the base of your neck and your head.

You can tell you have this type of headache if you have any of the following symptoms. Light sensitivity, tender scalp, pain behind the eyes, neck pain, or a sharp feeling behind your neck and head.

  • Herniated disks. Herniated disks can cause a painful and tense neck. If you have that, you could have a cervicogenic headache. This kind of headache can get worse when you lie down. If you have this headache, you’ll feel some pressure, just like weight, on the top of your head.

You can tell if you have this type of headache if you feel pain in the back of your head. You can also experience some pain behind your eyes, in your temples, or discomfort in your upper arms and shoulders.

Back Of The Neck And Right Side Pain

If you experience pain at the back of your neck and on your head’s right side, there is only one type of headache you can have. This headache is called a tension headache. As the name indicates, you can get this particular headache if you’re experiencing too much tension.

If you have a tension headache, your neck or your scalp might feel tight. You’ll feel a tight pain, but it won’t be a sharp pain like migraines or occipital neuralgia.

So try to relax, listen to music or meditate. You probably are experiencing too much stress in your life, so you should learn how to relax. Not only will relaxation help your overall physical and mental health, but it will also prevent you from getting tension headaches.

Back Of The Neck And Left Side Pain

If the back of your neck hurts, as well as your left side, there’s only one way to explain it: migraines. You might think that migraines can appear anywhere, and you would be right. They’re just more common on the left side and when the back of your neck hurts.

Migraine headaches are probably the worst types of headaches you can get. They can cause you to vomit, give you nausea, and give you watery eyes. They can make you especially sensitive to sound or light. As well as causing you a severe sharp and pulsating pain.

Headaches When Lying Down

Main Reasons

If your headaches get worse when lying down or you get a headache from lying down, it’s most often one of two things. It will either be because of herniated disks, as mentioned above or because of cluster headaches. I won’t describe herniated disks, as I referenced them previously.

So what are cluster headaches, and why do they give you a headache when you lie down or make your headache worse? Well, cluster headaches are rare, but they can happen. The term ‘cluster’ refers to the cluster periods in which these particular headaches happen. These periods can last weeks or even months, so these headaches are awful to have.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you probably experience cluster headaches, and you should consult your local doctor:

  • Nausea
  • Stuffy nose
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Tearing
  • Restlessness
  • Sound and light sensitivity
  • Sharp and burning pain

Other Reasons For Your Headache Worsening When You Lie Down

There could be other reasons why your headaches get worse when you lie down. For example, it could be that your spinal fluid pressure increases. When this happens, this condition is referred to as idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Yes, the name looks scary and complicated. It’s basically when the pressure in your head is too high.

Another reason why your headache gets worse after you lie down is a sinus infection or sinus disease.

Or, it could be that there are some complications in your brain, which explains why your headache hurts more when you lie down. In the worst-case scenario, it could be a brain tumor. So go see your doctor so he can examine you and potentially recommend you to other physicians.

In general, if your headache gets worse after you lie down, you should really go see your local doctor and make sure everything is alright.

Brain Tumor

You probably don’t have this. So don’t get alarmed if forums or articles on the internet tell you that if your headache gets worse when you lie down, you have a brain tumor.

If you do have any of the following symptoms, you should really consult your local doctor just to be sure: lightheadedness, hearing problems, loss of sensation in your legs or arms, seizure, or a complete change of personality.

Other potential symptoms of a brain tumor include higher pressure at the back of your neck, loss or blurred vision, and experiencing headaches when you have any form of cancer.

Possible Headache Treatments

The treatments will depend on where you get headaches, your headache types, and how often you get them. If you have any doubt about what to do or your headaches are becoming too troublesome in your life, don’t hesitate to contact your local doctor.

Here are all the possible headache treatments for each type of possible headache:

Arthritis Headaches

If you suffer from arthritis headaches, which are caused by inflammation problems, you can take anti-inflammatories. To know which ones you should take for your specific case, you can ask your local pharmacist or your doctor.

Bad Posture Headaches

If your headaches come from your bad posture, you can take acetaminophen. You should also fix your bad posture, so you don’t experience these headaches again, and improving your posture will also improve your physical health.

If your posture is bad because of the chair you work in, it’s a good long-term investment to purchase an ergonomic chair that has good lumbar support. Also, put both your feet on the floor when you work. Your posture will dramatically improve from what looks to be a small gesture.

Chronic Headaches

If you have chronic headaches, consider taking over-the-counter medications. Some of these need to be prescribed by a doctor, so go see a doctor if you need more powerful meds. Your doctor could also tell you why you suffer from chronic headaches and how to fix them permanently. It’s a good idea to consult a doctor if your headaches are chronic anyway.

Cluster Headaches

If you suffer from cluster headaches, consult your doctor so he can prescribe you some meds. In some severe cases, you might even need surgery, so don’t delay that doctor’s appointment!

Herniated Disks Headaches

If your headaches are caused by herniated disks, you should see a chiropractor. Depending on how bad your herniated disks are, you might need surgery. So you should take these headaches seriously and treat them as a warning for an underlying health condition.

Physical therapy will be necessary, and you could even get some epidural injections. You should also exercise, so you keep up the good results from your chiropractor sessions.

Tension Headaches

If you get tension headaches, you can get some pain relievers. Your local doctor should prescribe these. It’s also a good idea to try to find some time for relaxation in your life or even consider therapy, so you never have to worry about getting tension headaches again.

Occipital Neuralgia Headaches

You should get some anti-inflammatory meds and do some heat therapy if you experience headaches caused by occipital neuralgia. You might also need physical therapy and muscle relaxers. If you have occipital neuralgia, you should consult a doctor immediately and discuss how you can treat these headaches.


If you suffer from migraines, you can take pain-relief meds that work instantly. You can also talk to your local doctor, as he or she will probably be able to tell you why you get migraines. He or she will tell you how to prevent getting them, and what to do when you get one.

When Should You Worry?

Don’t let a headache ruin your life. Really. Especially if it’s a recurrent headache or a more serious headache, as mentioned above. Seeing your local doctor will not only help relieve you from your current headache, but it will also prevent you from getting more headaches, as your doctor could probably tell you what triggers your headaches.

If your headaches hurt even more when lying down, it’s a sign that you should see a doctor. It might not turn out to be anything to worry about, but better to be safe than sorry. If you can’t get anything done in your day because of constant headaches, feel any tenderness near your temples, or you have different headache types, just go see your local doctor.

You should especially worry if your headaches are worse than usual. If you can’t even think because the pain is too big, go to an emergency room in your nearest hospital and ask for somebody to take you there.

Final Thoughts

After reading this article, you now know all types of headaches there are, where they hurt and why you get them. You also understand now that having your headache get worse when you lie down is more common than you thought. And, in most cases, it’s nothing to worry about, and you can treat it.

If you get headaches when lying down, you might suffer from herniated disks or cluster headaches, which can be cured. It could also be a sinus problem or an increase in spinal fluid. In severe cases, it can be a sign of complications in your brain, and very rarely, it can be a brain tumor.

If your headache symptoms persist, or your headache gets worse, don’t hesitate to consult your local doctor. There’s no point in suffering or living in fear. What you have is probably not as bad as what you think. Your doctor will know what to do to help you so you can live your life mostly headache-free!



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