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Tricks for headaches: 6 steps to relieve a headache

Natural Home Remedies for Headaches

These natural home remedies for headaches will have you feeling better in no time.

In a world of tight schedules and high-speed everything, it’s no wonder we find ourselves popping an occasional pain reliever.

For a bad headache, you may want to choose one that contains a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine. (Off-limits…if you have a bleeding disorder, asthma, ulcers, or liver or kidney damage.)

But painkillers are only part of the solution. There’s much more you can do to escape the thump and wallop of a throbbing noggin.

Try these home remedies for headaches.

(Related: 6 Effective Pressure Points for Headaches)

Give it a rub

With a firm, circular motion, massage the web of skin between the base of your thumb and your forefinger. Continue massaging for several minutes, then switch hands and repeat until the pain resolves. Acupressure experts call this fleshy area trigger point LIG4 and maintain that it is linked to areas of the brain where headaches originate.

Heat up and cool down

Believe it or not, soaking your feet in hot water will help your head feel better. By drawing blood to your feet, the hot-water footbath will ease pressure on the blood vessels in your head. For a really bad headache, add a bit of hot mustard powder to the water.

For a tension headache, place a hot compress on your forehead or the back on your neck. The heat will help relax knotted-up muscles in this area.

It might sound contradictory, but you can follow up the heat treatment (or substitute it) by applying a cold compress to your forehead. (Put a couple of ice cubes in a washcloth or use a bag of frozen vegetables.) Cold constricts blood vessels, and when they shrink, they stop pressing on sensitive nerves. Since headache pain sometimes originates in nerves in back of your neck, try moving the compress to the muscles at the base of your skull.

Here’s an alternative to a cold compress: Soak your hands in ice water for as long as you can stand it. While your hands are submerged, repeatedly open and close your fists. This works on the same principle as an ice pack on your head—the cold narrows your dilated blood vessels.

(Related: 12 Foods That Can Make Your Headaches Worse)

Try the caffeine cure

Have a cup of strong coffee. Caffeine reduces blood-vessel swelling, and thus can help relieve a headache. This is  why caffeine is an ingredient in some extra-strength painkillers like Excedrin. However, if you are already a heavy coffee drinker, skip this. Caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches, creating a vicious cycle.

Do something constrictive

Tie a bandanna, scarf, or necktie around your forehead, then tighten it just to the point where you can feel pressure all around your head. By reducing the flow of blood to your scalp, this can help relieve the pain caused by swollen blood vessels. You might try soaking the bandana in vinegar, a traditional headache remedy.

Soothe with scent

Certain essential oils, especially lavender, can help ease tension and relieve the pain of a headache. Gently massage a bit of lavender oil onto your forehead and temples, then lie back and enjoy the relaxing scent. For maximum relief, slip away to a room that’s cool, dark, and quiet. The longer you can lie there quietly breathing in the aroma, the better.

In addition to lavender oil, or instead of it, use peppermint oil. The menthol it contains can help dissolve away a headache. Its fragrance at first stimulates, then relaxes, the nerves that cause headache pain.

If you have a vaporizer, add seven drops lavender oil and three drops peppermint oil, then breathe in the relief. If you don’t, try sprinkling a few drops of peppermint oil on a tissue. Inhale deeply several times.

Try wringing out two wet peppermint tea bags and place them on your closed eyelids or forehead for five minutes.

Swallow some throb stoppers

An anti-inflammatory, ginger was traditionally used to treat headaches, and it seems to work. Grind up a half-teaspoon ginger, stir it into a glass of water, and drink this ginger juice. Or pour 1 cup hot water over 1 teaspoon freshly ground ginger, let the tea cool a bit, then drink it. Ginger is especially effective against migraines, though how it works is not well understood. Doctors do know that ginger has an effect on prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that contribute to inflammation. Ginger also helps control the nausea that so often accompanies migraines.

Try drinking a cup of rosemary tea. Some people say it helps keep a headache from getting worse. Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoon of the dried herb, steep for 10 minutes, strain, and drink.

At least one grandmother counted on strong black tea with a few bruised whole cloves added. Tea contains caffeine, and cloves have anti-inflammatory properties, so the brew might indeed help a headache.

Down a large glass of water and see if it helps. Dehydration can cause a headache.

The power of prevention

If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw-either when you’re awake or asleep-take steps to prevent the problem. You might need to wear a mouth guard at night.

Eat at regular intervals. There’s evidence that a drop in blood sugar-the result of going too long without eating-can set the stage for headaches.

At least three days a week, spend 30 minutes walking, cycling, swimming, or doing some other form of aerobic exercise. These exercises are great stress-relievers.

Next: Am I Having a Headache or a Migraine? And More Migraine Questions, Answered

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11 Secrets for Getting Rid of Headaches

For almost every person on the planet, headaches are, well, a headache! Chances are that you’ve had one fairly recently, but for those who get them regularly, the one thing they are looking for is relief.

While you can always pop a few over the counter pain pills, they wreak havoc on your liver and if you get frequent headaches, you really don’t want to go that route.

Let’s not forget that for some types of headaches, pain killers like Advil or Tylenol simply don’t work.

So how to get rid of a headache?

That would depend.

Why do I have a headache?

That would also depend.

Let’s spend just a minute talking about what type of headache you have so you can find out the best way to get rid of it.

When Should You be Concerned about a Headache?

While most headaches are painful, they usually aren’t serious. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Be aware that if any of the following apply to you, see your doctor immediately, go to the emergency room or call 911:

  • Headache that also have painful, red eyes
  • An unusual change in what is a normal headache for you
  • Headaches after accidents or a blow to the head
  • Headaches that also include a stiff neck, confusion, fever, slurred speech, weakness, or decreased levels of alertness
  • Headaches that get worse instead of better despite treatment(s)
  • Headaches so severe they interfere with normal activity
  • Headaches that wake you up from a sound sleep
  • “Thunderclap” headaches that come on quickly and are often described as “the worst headache of your life”

Headache, Headache, Go Away!

We understand that, more than anything else, you want to know how to get rid of that headache fast!

What are the best ways to get rid of a headache and how do you treat a severe headache? We have answers for you with 11 little-known secrets for getting rid of whatever type of headache you have.

11 Secrets for Getting Rid of Headaches

Secret #1: Get Rid of Your Tension Headache

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache people complain about. As you can imagine, this type of pain is caused by stress and tension. While over the counter pain relieves usually work, they can lead to rebound headaches (see secret #9).

How can you get rid of a tension headache fast? Try some of the following:

  • Chiropractic Massage – Is there anything better than a massage to reduce stress and tension? Now imagine getting one at the direction of your chiropractor? The chiropractor can direct the therapist to work on tight muscles and problem areas, providing not only tension relief, but long-lasting pain relief.
  • Limit Alcohol – While this might not help with your tension headache today, you can prevent future tension headaches by limiting your alcohol consumption. Studies show that alcohol consumption can lead to tension headaches, even if you aren’t drunk.
  • Peppermint or Lavender Essential Oil – Just a drop of either one of these oils massaged into the temples has been shown to stop tension headaches. You can further reduce tension and stress by placing another drop of lavender oil on the upper lip and inhaling the scent.
  • Coenzyme Q10 Supplements – This is a natural substance produced by the body that turns our food into energy while working as an antioxidant. For some reason, studies show that people who take 100mgs of COQ10 had fewer headaches than those who did not.
  • Yoga – Since tension headaches stem from stress, you might want to start a yoga program to reduce stress. Both headache frequency and intensity were reduced in those who took yoga classes compared to those who did not, according to one study.
  • Get Some Exercise – It sounds impossible, but studies show that those who engage in exercise at least 3 times a week have fewer headaches. In the case of tension headaches, this is most likely due to lower stress levels.

If you feel like you have tried everything, and you still suffer from chronic tension headaches, speak with your doctor or chiropractor about what your next steps should be.

Secret #2: Get Rid of Your Sinus Headache

Hopefully, your sinus headache isn’t caused by a sinus infection. If you have pain in your upper teeth, a fever, and a yellow or green nasal discharge, you might have an infection. See your doctor for antibiotics.

However, if you regularly get sinus headaches due to changes in air pressure or other reasons, you can try some of the following remedies:

  • Try a Hot Shower – You want your sinuses to drain and steam usually does the trick. Try taking a hot shower or holding your head over a pot of steaming water. Be careful not to burn your face!
  • Neti Pot – This ancient remedy comes to us from India. These little teapot looking items have a long spout that goes inside one nostril. The water solution will go through the sinuses and come out the other nostril, removing mucus.
  • Hot and Cold Compresses – Many people find relief by alternating between hot and cold compresses placed on their forehead. This reduces swelling and allows the sinuses to drain.
  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil – This powerful smelling oil from Eucalyptus leaves really works to clear up sinuses. Try smelling a few drops placed on a cloth for 10 minutes or put a drop or two in hot water and breathe in the steam.

If you think your sinus headache might be due to an allergy, be sure to read secret #3.

Secret #3: Get Rid of Your Allergy Headache

Allergies are also a common headache inducer. One of the problems is trying to find out what you are allergic to. Some of the best ways to do this include:

  • Avoid Nitrates and Nitrites – These are common food preservatives in many processed types of meat like bacon, sausage, and hot dogs. This is a preservative, but many people have an allergic reaction to them that causes headaches instead of hives.
  • Avoid Powerful Odors – This can be difficult to do but pay attention to your surroundings. Anytime you are near a strong odor, such as perfume, paint, nail polish, hair spray, cleaning products, or cigarette smoke, and you get a headache soon afterward, you are probably experiencing an allergic reaction.
  • The Elimination Diet – You might think that food allergies result in hives, but they sometimes result in headaches. Even if you aren’t allergic to the food itself, you might be sensitive to other items in the food, such as artificial colors or preservatives. Some of the most common food items that cause headaches are cheese, chocolate, citrus fruit, coffee, and alcohol. Try removing these items.

If you are still having headaches that you believe are allergy-related, see your doctor or chiropractor for more advice.

Secret #4: Get Rid of Your Migraine Headache

Migraines are a nightmare for the people who suffer from them. The pain is intense and can last for days for some persons. Most people with migraines cannot stand light or sound, which virtually debilitates them, making them prisoners in their bedrooms. There are dozens of medications, but very few actually work. Some of the best migraine remedies include:

  • Chiropractic Care – Studies show that spinal adjustments, one of the main treatments of chiropractors, are an effective means of preventing migraines and reducing the intensity of these headaches. While it won’t stop a migraine today, imagine stopping future migraines with just a few adjustments?
  • Avoid High Histamine Foods – While histamine is a natural substance found in the body, certain foods that are high in histamines, like cheese, wine, beer, processed meats, smoked fish, and fermented foods like pickles, can cause migraine headaches for some people who are sensitive to these products.
  • Take Magnesium – This mineral is vital for every function in the body and most American’s are deficient in it. Not only have studies shown that taking magnesium can stop a migraine, it can also reduce the severity and frequency of migraines. Supplements can be hard on the stomach. Try using magnesium rich oils or take baths that contain Epsom salts.
  • Cold Compress – Some people say that they have found pain relief by holding ice or a cold compress to the back of the neck.
  • Caffeine – Small amounts of caffeine (1 cup of coffee) can reduce the severity of a migraine headache by constricting the blood vessels. Be careful not to consume too much caffeine or it can have the opposite effect.

Secret #5: Get Rid of Your Exertion Headache

Exertion headaches are a real bummer. You just finish doing something great and before you can admire your accomplishment, your head is pounding. While these aren’t as well known as migraines, they can be every bit as painful. Some of the best tips for stopping an exertion headache include:

  • Cooling down. An exertion headache is your body’s way of saying that you have overextended yourself. Try drinking some cool water and taking a break for 20-30 minutes.
  • Avoid Triggers. Take note when you get these headaches and see if you can find a trigger. Some people discover that they are dehydrated, or they occur on days when they didn’t sleep well the night before.
  • See Your Chiropractor. If you get these headaches when you are exercising, it might be due to incorrect posture. Lifting heavy weights or running with your head too far forward or back will limit the blood flow and cause muscle tension. Your chiropractor can help to adjust your spine and neck, as well as suggest improvements to your form as you work out.

If you still cannot find the source of your exertion headache, speak with your doctor or chiropractor about other possibilities.

Secret #6: Get Rid of Your Cluster Headache






Ugh! Talk about a headache that won’t go away! Cluster headaches aren’t actually headaches but is pain that comes from the dilation of a blood vessel which then touches a large nerve which runs from the side of the ear, down to the face and jaw. It is unknown why this occurs, but it tends to run in cycles, with episodes happening every night for several weeks or months, then disappearing for weeks or months or, for some people, forever.

The pain of a cluster headache is worse than a migraine, but they don’t tend to last as long. Some people have described these as a hot poker being shoved in your eye or down your ear. Since the root cause is unknown and prevention is impossible, you will need to find ways to deal with these headaches as they occur. Some remedies that have worked include:

  • Prednisone – While we don’t like to recommend taking medication unless absolutely necessary, taking the steroid prednisone for a short time (7-10 days) will stop the cluster headache for most people within 24 hours. It is unknown why this works or why it doesn’t work for everyone, but it has proven to be effective for many people.
  • Chiropractic Care – Like prednisone, the reasons why chiropractic works is unknown, but there are hundreds of testimonials from people who, after receiving adjustments, found that their cluster headaches disappeared. This is most likely because of joints in the neck that were out of alignment and adjustments restore a normal range of motion.
  • Chiropractic Massage – Some believe that cluster headaches stem from excessive amounts of stress. Chiropractic massage is a terrific way to relieve stress and restore the natural balance to the body.
  • Avoid Possible Triggers – Some people say that consuming any alcohol or being near any tobacco smoke will bring on an attack within hours.

Remember that pain medication will not work for cluster headaches so there is no point in taking any sort of over the counter or even prescription pain killers.

If you are suffering from any type of recurring headache, we encourage you to contact us at Better Health Anchorage for a same-day chiropractic appointment by clicking here. No one should suffer from headache pain and we will gladly check your insurance coverage, so you have one less headache to worry about!

Secret #7: Get Rid of Your Caffeine Headache

This seems fairly straight forward, right? Missing caffeine, drink a cup? Unfortunately, by the time you have reached headache status, a cup of coffee or a soda will not stop the headache. You can try some of the following:

  • Peppermint or Lavender Essential Oil – Try massaging a drop of either oil into the temples.
  • Ice Packs – Some people find that ice packs, especially when applied to the back of the neck, stop caffeine headaches.
  • Stimulate Pressure Points – Pressing on certain parts of the body can relieve pain, including headaches. One study found that acupressure treatments relieved headaches better than muscle relaxers. Try pressing down on the spot between the base of your thumb and your index finger for a full 5 minutes, then repeat on the opposite hand.
  • Take a Nap – This one seems to work for most people. Drink a cup of coffee or some other caffeinated beverage, then lie down and take a nap for 30-60 minutes. That headache should be gone.

You might want to start alternating decaf coffee with regular coffee until you can break the caffeine habit entirely.

Secret #8: Get Rid of Your Hormone Headache






Estrogen levels affect many things in a woman’s body and that can include giving you a headache. If you experience headaches just before the start of or in the first days of your cycle, these are known as menstrual migraines. Other headaches, such as those that start when you ovulate, are often called hormone headaches. You can’t stop Mother Nature or your hormones, but you can try the following tips:

  • Yoga – Practicing yoga on a regular basis can help to prevent these headaches from occurring.
  • Sleep – Getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night allows the body to remove old hormones and make new ones. This might prevent an overload of hormones, which can lead to a headache.
  • Chiropractic Massage – Stress leads to headaches and massage therapy is one of the best ways to reduce stress and give you a feeling of being well cared for.
  • Try a Different Birth Control Pill – Some types of birth control pills tend to have more side effects than others, including headaches. Ask your doctor about switching to another brand and see if it helps.

Your doctor or chiropractor might be able to offer you other suggestions if the above remedies do not seem to help.

Secret #9: Get Rid of Your Rebound Headache

Rebound headaches come from the overuse of over the counter pain meds. These headaches are intense but are very dull. If you suffer from frequent headaches and take these pain relievers frequently (more than twice a month) you could be adding to your headache problem rather than stopping it.

Unfortunately, the only way to stop rebound headaches is to stop the cause: pain medications. You need to stop taking pain killers to prevent rebound headaches and find out what the root cause is of the headache you are taking medication for.

Your chiropractor can help you find natural alternatives, so you can avoid headaches, and rebound headaches, in the future.

Secret #10: Get Rid of Your Post-Traumatic Headache

As if being whacked upside the head wasn’t enough, it often brings headaches that can last for months, even as long as a year. Depending on the type of injury, cervical or cervicogenic headaches stem from damaged muscles, ligaments, and misaligned vertebrae in the neck. Musculoskeletal headaches are the result of damaged muscles and connective tissue in the neck, jaw, and shoulders. Treatments for post-traumatic headaches will vary, but include:

  • Chiropractic Care – Realigning the vertebrae in the neck will allow faster healing and fewer headaches.
  • Chiropractic Massage – Massage brings many benefits, including relaxing muscles and improving circulation so fresh blood can bring healing nutrients.
  • Physical Therapy – Physical therapy exercises can strengthen neck and shoulder muscles, as well as make them more flexible. Most chiropractors have physical therapy in their clinics, so you can take advantage of both treatments.

The biggest factor with post-traumatic headaches is early treatment. See your doctor or chiropractor sooner as opposed to later to help prevent these injury-related headaches.

Secret #11: Get Rid of Your Unknown Cause Headache










The unknown headache. Sometimes, nothing seems to work, and you just don’t know why you have this headache that won’t go away.

It’s usually trial and error in this case. Some natural, non-pharmaceutical treatments are:

  • B Vitamin Complex Supplements – Both B2 and B12 deficiencies have been linked to frequent headaches. Taking a supplement regularly can reduce the number of headaches, according to studies.
  • Cold Compress – This is an ancient home remedy that does seem to work for many people. Try placing it on the back of your neck and/or on the forehead.
  • Feverfew – This plant was used by Native American’s to stop fevers, but it can also be used to prevent headaches. Some studies found feverfew to be effective, but others did not.
  • Butterbur – Like feverfew, the extracts from this plant are high in anti-inflammatory compounds, so it can reduce headaches in doses of 50-150 mgs.
  • Ginger Tea – Here’s a tasty remedy. Ginger has anti-inflammatory compounds, as well as antioxidants that seem to help with headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Drink two cups of ginger tea when you have a headache.

We hope that you found this information helpful. If you did, please feel free to share it with others.

Types of Headaches

Before you can stop it, you need to identify it. What works for a tension headache will not work for migraine. See if you can recognize your type of headache:

  • Tension headache – the most common type. This is often described as a dull, aching feeling all over the head. Shoulder or neck tightness or pain is not uncommon.
  • Sinus headaches– Sometimes the flu or a bout with a cold will give you a sinus headache. If you feel pressure behind your eyes, aching in your teeth, and if the pain gets worse when you bend over, you probably have a sinus headache.
  • Allergy headache – An allergic reaction can give you a headache and many people mistakenly think they have a sinus headache.
  • Migraine headache– This type of headache leaves a person so vulnerable to sound and light that they often lie in dark rooms with the curtains drawn. Nausea and vomiting, as well as seeing flashing lights is common.
  • Exertion headache -After periods of heavy physical activity, such as running or even after sex, the increased blood flow to the brain can cause a headache. These are often described as a throbbing headache that is on both sides of the head.
  • Caffeine headache – Since caffeine affects the flow of blood to the brain, too much caffeine, as well as too little, can cause a doozy of a headache.
  • Hormone headache – Women frequently have headaches due to a hormonal fluctuation.
  • Rebound headache – When you frequently use over the counter pain meds, these can actually bring on another headache. Many people describe these as the worst tension headache or even a migraine headache.
  • Post-traumatic headache – After any type of accident or head injury, it is not uncommon to have a headache. Unfortunately, these can last as long as 12 months after the incident.
  • Cluster headache – Not actually a headache, though many people think they are. Cluster headaches tend to happen soon after a person falls asleep, with excruciating pain that tends to be on one side of the head, down the side of the face and under the jaw. They last anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours and are sometimes called “Suicide headaches” because the pain is so intense, people have committed suicide rather than deal with them.
  • The Unknown Cause headache – Everyone’s favorite. Sometimes, the root cause of a headache simply isn’t known.

Hopefully, you have identified your type of headache from the list above.

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why this happens and what needs to be done

When parents first encounter this phenomenon, they may be seriously alarmed. What is it – a symptom of a neurological disease or just whims? In most cases, when the baby arches, throwing his head back, there is nothing to worry about. But there are situations when the intervention of a specialist is necessary.

What you need to know if the baby throws his head back and arches

The baby arches and throws his head back, but does not show discontent Probably nothing to worry about. Perhaps he is trying to see something up or behind his back, or learning new skills. In some cases, this may be a manifestation of hypertonicity. In the first six months, this may be within the normal range, but if such phenomena are observed frequently or persist for a long time, you should see a doctor.
The child shows anxiety A lot here depends on the general condition of the baby. He may arch and whimper if his back is itchy or his nose is stuffy. More vivid signs of discontent will be if the child is tormented by colic, pain, or he is frightened. If you cannot find the cause and / or this condition recurs often, you need to see a doctor for a diagnosis.

Variants of the physiological norm

In some cases, the child can pull the back of the head back for the simplest reasons: he is studying his body and the world around him. But there may be other reasons as well.

Below we will consider in more detail all the situations when “acrobatic stunts” are a physiological norm.

Hypertonicity in infants under 6 months

Physiological hypertonicity of the limb flexors in children under 6 months of age is considered normal. The fact is that at this age the maturation of the nervous system is still ongoing.

Mastering the skill

Baby mastering the skill of turning over on his stomach. In this case, the child lies on his side and throws his head back, trying to roll over from his back to his stomach. You can help the baby: throw one leg over the other crosswise in the direction where the child wants to roll over. After this, the baby must himself complete the coup with the upper body.


Often the baby, rolling in hysterics, arches, throws back his head, bursting into heart-rending crying. There is nothing wrong with this, take the baby in your arms and try to calm him down. You need to understand what alarmed him and eliminate the cause.

Affective-respiratory attacks

This is the name of the phenomenon when, for some reason, the child stops breathing for a short time. Often, such attacks are accompanied by tantrums, but they can also be provoked, for example, by fright or a sudden change in the environment (for example, when immersed in cold water). What it looks like: the child “rolls up” in a cry, his neck extensor muscles tighten, his torso arches, the nasolabial triangle turns blue, and at the height of the cry, the breath is suddenly held while inhaling, the skin turns blue (1). After a few seconds, the child comes to his senses, breathing becomes regular.

These seizures can occur in healthy children during the first year of life and are usually harmless. But if such situations are repeated often and, perhaps, for no apparent reason, you should consult a doctor to rule out various diseases.

Colic and bloating

A nightmare for parents of babies under the age of 3-4 months. Colic is also a variant of the norm, since intestinal motility in a child is not yet fully developed.

With colic, the baby screams heart-rendingly, arches and throws back his head, blushes strongly, clenching his fists and twisting his legs (2). The abdomen is hard and swollen, the child may refuse to eat. There are several ways to help a baby:

  • gently massage the tummy,
  • put on a clean diaper, ironed with a hot iron,
  • give medicine for colic (only after consulting a doctor!).

If the baby is breast-fed, the mother should take a closer look at her diet and exclude foods that increase gas formation: cabbage, legumes, carbonated drinks, chocolate. In the most extreme cases, the use of a gas outlet tube is acceptable.

Runny nose

It happens that with a runny nose, when it is difficult for an infant to breathe, he begins to arch and worry. Try to help the baby by raising his mattress by 30 degrees to improve the outflow of mucus, and also monitor the humidity and air temperature in the room where the child sleeps.

Trying to find a sleeping position

Sometimes babies arch their backs and tilt their heads back, trying to get comfortable before going to bed. The fact is that in the womb, children are often in unnatural positions, and in the first months of life they can unconsciously repeat them.

Other reasons

If the child is arching but not complaining, he may be trying to look at toys hanging over him.

Try to hang the mobile and rattles so that the child does not have to dodge to look at them. Keep in mind that if the toys are hung too close to the baby’s face, it may adversely affect his vision.

In addition, the child may arch for very banal reasons: perhaps his back or neck itches.

When the child should be seen by a pediatrician or neurologist

What to do if you are convinced that the baby does not suffer from colic, have tried all the ways, but the baby does not calm down and continues to cry and arch, throwing his head back? To relieve yourself of anxiety, seek the advice of a pediatrician or neurologist.

Let’s consider situations when such behavior of the baby may indicate health problems.

Increased intracranial pressure

Sometimes, if the pregnancy was complicated, the child developed intrauterine hypoxia, or there was a difficult delivery, then in the first months the baby may have increased intracranial pressure, due to which he will arch, throw back his head and cry. If intracranial pressure is suspected, it is urgent to show the baby to the doctor to avoid complications.

CSF hypertension symptoms

Irritability, tearfulness, constant crying for no apparent reason, negative reaction to bright lights or loud sounds. Also, often increased intracranial pressure is accompanied by convulsions, profuse regurgitation after feeding. The baby sleeps little and constantly wakes up, when he screams, his lips and chin tremble violently, and the nasolabial triangle also turns blue. In severe cases, the baby’s fontanel swells and protrudes, strabismus develops.

Raised intracranial pressure can sometimes be a symptom of a serious illness, such as meningitis, which develops atypically in young children.

Muscular hypertonicity

Arching of the back and tilting of the head may be a sign of muscular hypertonicity in a child. Often, hypertonicity is a consequence of oxygen starvation, fetal hypoxia during pregnancy or during prolonged labor. The most severe consequences can be encephalopathy and cerebral palsy.

Muscle tension can be all over the body or affect only one side of the baby’s body. Parents should be alerted not only by the frequent arching of the child and throwing back the head, but also by the violation of the grasping function. Muscle hypertonicity is a reason to show the child to a doctor who, if necessary, will prescribe a course of treatment and massage.


Tilt-back of the child’s head can also be caused by torticollis (a pathology of the musculoskeletal system in the neck, due to which the child’s head deviates to the side or can be turned to the side). Parents should be alerted if the child’s head is always in the same position, and when you try to turn it in the other direction, the child worries and cries. Torticollis requires mandatory treatment, which includes wearing a special collar, massage courses and physiotherapy.

Meningeal syndrome

A complication may occur as a result of otitis media if treatment is started late. This is due to the underdevelopment of the structures of the middle ear in young children.

In this case, the child throws back his head unconsciously, trying to alleviate his condition (3). The following symptoms may also be observed:

  • convulsions,
  • vomiting,
  • confusion,
  • decreased motor activity.

You must go to the hospital immediately.


During an epileptic seizure, the child may arch, throwing back his head strongly, and freeze in this state for a while. After the attack passes, the child relaxes, begins to cry, urination or defecation occurs. Treatment of epilepsy is prescribed only by a doctor and takes place under medical supervision.

Cerebral palsy

If a child arches their back frequently for no apparent reason, this may be a sign of a pathology such as cerebral palsy (4). But other characteristic signs should also be observed:

  • developmental delays (baby is late in crawling, sitting, walking, talking),
  • low or increased muscle tone,
  • problems with speech and swallowing, with only one hand, limps at an older age).

Some of these signs can also be observed in healthy children, but if something worries you, it is worth taking the child to specialists in order to rule out a problem or start treatment in time.


Photo: Andrey Arkusha, globallookpress.com

If you are worried that the baby often arches and throws his head back, it is better to seek advice from a doctor who will determine reliably whether this is a norm or a pathology. The doctor will listen to complaints, ask how the pregnancy, childbirth and the first days of the child’s life proceeded, specify how often and under what circumstances the baby throws his head back, whether he cries or behaves calmly, whether the nasolabial triangle turns blue, whether the fontanel swells.

If necessary, the doctor can prescribe tests and examinations:

  • general blood and urine tests,
  • neurosonography (ultrasound of the brain through the fontanel),
  • electroencephalography (to rule out epilepsy).

However, CT and MRI scans are extremely rare for young children, since these studies are performed under general anesthesia, so that the child is completely immobile.

Frequently asked questions and answers

Our expert answers readers’ frequently asked questions, Veronika Oranskaya, neurologist, epileptologist, member of the League of Evidence-Based Medicine.

The baby throws back his head and arches after feeding – what can it be?

Sometimes tilting the head back after eating or only in a horizontal position during sleep can be a manifestation of the so-called Sandifer’s syndrome, which occurs due to gastroesophageal reflux (reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus). Requires medical advice and treatment.

Can tilting the head be a symptom of a child’s vision problem?

If for some reason (myasthenia gravis, oculomotor neuropathy, congenital feature) the child cannot raise the upper eyelid, he will tilt his head back.

What other possible pathologies can the tilting of the head and arching of the child indicate?

Sudden paroxysmal tilting of the head may be epileptic seizures. A forced constant tilt of the head back may indicate a brain tumor. When combined with an increase in temperature, tilting the head back may indicate meningitis. But most often the reasons for head tilt are all benign: the child doesn’t like something, he is learning to roll over, or he just wants to look at something that is behind his head.