Lumps that form on the back of head are very common and sometimes they are not a cause of worry. A lump on the back of your head can be large or small, hard or tender, painful or without pain depending on what has caused it to occur in the first place. It is not common to have a bump on your head that is dangerous or malignant. Even if it happens so, such lumps can develop on the back of your head just as they can develop on any other part of the body. Therefore, it is very important to pay attention to any kind of lump that appears on your head.

Lump on Back of Head or Skull

lump on back of head on neck

lump on back of head on neck

The skull is considered as one of the hardest parts of the body structures and therefore does not have muscles. This is because its duty is to protect the most delicate and important organ of the body – the brain. While the skull is hard, that does not make it to be completely immune when it comes to bumps, cysts, lumps and any other kinds of pimples. There are different types of infections, which can occur on the scalp and therefore cause a bump to develop at the site of infection including the center, sides, and top and back of the head.

A lump that appears on the base of your scalp can be terrifying for obvious reasons and it can be an indication for several issues. Back head lumps can range from simple and common issues such as pimple or acne to more serious and complicated conditions such as cancer. So long as the lump is not associated with serious symptoms as we talked above, it should not causes you worry as it will go away without your attention after a few days. If there is need, you can share about it with your doctor if it persists for much more time than expected.

Symptoms of lump on back of head

Symptoms of a condition can be used as effective diagnostic tools. They usually help when it comes to identifying the possible underlying cause that led to occurrence of a specific type of a condition. When it comes to a lump on the head, symptoms can help to determine what led to the formation of that lump. General signs and symptoms for head lumps are discussed as follows:

  • Lumps on the head can appear to be red or dark brown, and they may not be itchy or painful. In this case, such lumps are usually moles. The condition is usually harmless.
  • Seborrheic keratosis lumps on the head will occur with symptoms such as lumps that are colorless or slightly dark brown. This condition is also usually harmless.
  • On the other hand, cyst on top or back of head is usually identified with a hard lump that feels like a bone. Cysts in most cases are usually without pain. They sometimes can be small or big enough to cause pain and discomfort. However, you should not worry about cysts as they are in most cases harmless, and they may clear on their own without intervention.
  • You can as well develop a lump on back of head just from hormonal changes. This is usually very common to people who are in puberty or undergoing menstrual periods. Such pimples are usually harmless, and they may sometimes be felt with whitish substance which makes them a bit painful.
  • Ingrown hairs on our head may occur as well after we have shaved. Ingrown hairs are usually very painful and if infected may be filled with pus. They usually call for concern as they can lead to a serious condition. They may take some time to heal although they cannot result in cancer.
  • A boil can also form a painful lump on back of head. Boils usually result from a bacterial infection that either occurs in the hair follicle or sebaceous glands. They are usually very painful and they may even cause swelling of the lymphatic glands behind ears or under lower jaw.
  • A lump on the back of your head that keeps growing and evolving should be examined as soon as possible as it could be associated to cancer. You can discuss them with your medical provider. If left unattended to, cancer lumps can spread to other areas of the body and make it hard to treat them.

Lump on Back of Head Causes

lump on back of head picture

lump on back of head picture

All conditions that cause lumps on any other part of the body can simultaneously cause a lump at the back of your head. However, there are very few unique conditions that specifically targets areas that are covered with hair on the body. If you develop a bump on your head, watch out for some of the following reasons that we are going to discuss below.

Causes of lump on back of head

  1. Cysts

A lump on the back of your head could just be a cyst. Pilar cyst and sebaceous cyst are some of the common cysts that form on the head. There is no bigger difference between a sebaceous cyst and Pilar cysts. The main thing is that they occur after the hair follicle is blocked by sebum. Hereditary predisposal is said to be one of the factor that encourage their formation. Cysts are in most cases painless unless they are infected and they usually do not call for emergency attention. However, if they cause you discomfort, you discuss with your surgeon if excision can be done.

  1. Pimples

Pimples on the back of your head usually develop from an ingrown hair or blockage of a pore by sebum. Ingrown hair is common in men who shave their heads especially very close to the skin. Hairs that are cut deep into the skin may curl and start growing while facing in the skin resulting to an ingrown hair which is normally very painful. Also, during puberty or menstrual periods, there is increased production of sebum due to hormonal changes and this can lead to development of pimples on the body including on the scalp skin. All these can lead to development of a small pimple on any part of your scalp.

  1. Scalp lipomas

Lipomas can as well form on the back of your head. A lipoma is usually a lump on back of head that is rounded, soft and movable, and it is usually a benign subcutaneous tumor. A lipoma can enlarge up to 6cm and in some cases it can be more than that, extending to the upper back neck. They are sometimes quite painful especially if they grow large thereby pressing on the nerves and blood vessels.

  1. Seborrheic keratosis

This is considered to be the major cause of bumps that appear on the head. It is a condition that is connected to genetic predisposition. The bumps formed from this condition are usually colorless and they may be rounded. In some cases, the lumps can be brown in color with an oval shape.

  1. Irritation related bumps

Round bumps at the back of your head can be related to irritation caused by cosmetics or aggressive brushing of the hair. You may have developed a bump from allergic irritation that was caused by either of the cosmetics you are using. In this case, carry out a close observation to find out what kind of product could have resulted to such bump. Keloids are good example of bumps that may be caused by an irritation to the skin from cosmetic products. Such bumps are sometimes painful and if not attended to, they may continue to grow.

  1. Tophi and Moles

Tophi can sometimes be referred to as gout. This is a condition that results from an elevated level of uric acid in the body which causes the formation of bumps on the skin. Just like gout, these bumps are usually very painful. On the other hand, moles are bumps that form all over the skin including the back of head. A mature person can develop up to 50 moles. Moles usually appear with a red or dark brown color. Often, moles do not keep growing in size.

  1. Nevus sebaceous

This is a condition whereby a child develops a patch on the back of the head. The condition may cause lumps to appear on the head at lager year. The condition is not common and it is not a reason to panic.

  1. Insect bites

Some insects are known to inject some venom into the body while they bite. Such insects may include ticks which usually transmit Lyme disease. Also, insects can cause inflammation to the site where they bite. Some of the insects that live in the hair such as bugs can easily cause a lump on back of head if the bite.

  1. Physical injuries

Your head is very prone to physical injuries especially if you are tall. This can be dangerous especially if blunt object is inflicted to your head. A bump may develop from the site of the impact due to the clotting of blood inside the scalp. Physical injuries on the head are supposed to be examined and treated accordingly as soon as they are sustained.

  1. Common warts

Warts are common skin problems and they can also form on the back of your head. The condition is usually caused by HPV and human papilloma virus on the scalp. When they develop on the head, warts can destroy hair follicle and cause the hair around them to fall off and not grow again. These lumps are very common in women and they are connected to genetic inheritance.

  1. Neurofibromatosis

This condition is very common in children. It is a genetic disorder that causes lump on back of head especially on the tissues that surround the nerves.

  1. Cancer

You can develop a cancer lump as well on your scalp. Cancer cells usually multiply on the head especially to bald men who spend most of their days exposed to direct sunlight. Cancer cells are likely to spread rapidly if not treated. Some of the common symptoms that are associated with this condition include development of a lump in the throat after eating due to presence of tumors there.

Lump on Back of Head Hurts to Touch

There are several conditions that can cause a lump that is painful to occur on the back of your head. Some of the conditions we have discussed above are culprits for painful lumps while other is not. For example, we said bumps that form on back of head from ingrown hairs, hormonal changes or boils are usually very painful especially if not attended to. Also, bumps that form from allergic reaction can be painful for some time.

If you have noticed a lump on back of head that hurts to touch, it could mean either of the following types of bumps:

  • Dermoid cyst – this type of bump usually have a deep extension inside the bone that is why it may be painful to touch. However, it is usually a benign and in some cases it can be a bit tender especially if an infection is involved
  • Osteoma cutis and osteoma – these are non-cancerous bumps that can form at the back of your head.

Finding out the underlying cause of your painful bump may help when it comes to deciding the perfect means of treatment. It is important if you talk to your medical provider about it so that you can get proper diagnosis. A surgical incision may be involved depending on what is causing a lump on back of head that hurts when touched.

Hard Lump on Back of Head not Painful

Some lumps on the head can be painless, hard and movable. Such lumps are usually very easy to be ignored. However, not all painless lumps should be ignored as some of them could be a symptom for impending danger. Cysts are most likely to be the cause of painless bumps at the back of the head. There are many different types of cysts.

Cysts forming at the back of your head tend to be hard and movable without pain. Even though a cyst in many cases tends to be a cause for no alarm, it can sometimes be scary if an infection penetrates through it.

Lump on Back of Head Treatment

Your doctor can identify a lump at the back of your head by physically examining it. Some causes of lumps can easily be identified by just observing and touching them to try moving them around. In other cases, your doctor may perform some tests to determine the underlying cause of the lump on back of head. Treatments may be advised depending on the results of your doctor. The following are some of the medical treatments for lumps on the scalp:

Medical treatments for lump on back of head

  1. Surgical excision

This is a procedure that is very ideal to large and infected bumps behind your head. Your surgeon will advise whether surgery is necessary or not. Some types of bumps that may require surgical treatment are warts. In this procedure, the lump is removed by use of electro surgery which includes the use of a needle that sends an electrical charge through the wart or the lump thus vaporizing the growth in order to enable the hardened tissue to be scrapped off. This process can sometimes be painful although anesthesia may be used to numb the area.

  1. Use of liquid nitrogen

Liquid nitrogen can be used to freeze the lump on the scalp and therefore causing it to flatten off.  This type of treatment is commonly referred to as cryotherapy. The treatment can be applied to certain types of bumps and not all.

  1. Use of medication

There are certain types of medications that can also be very helpful when it comes to dealing with bumps on the back of your head. Medications such as Malathion and lindane can be used in this case. Cancer lumps are usually treated by use of chemotherapy medication. Some cancer drugs may also be involved.

  1. Topical option

This may involve the use of creams and ointments which are applied directly on the site of a lump on back of head. This will help to reduce that pain and itchiness resulting from the lump caused by issues such as insect bites and Lyme disease. Salicylic acid is normally used to get rid of such lumps, including moles

  1. Painkillers

Some lumps that develop on the scalp are usually very painful and inflamed. Such bumps can involve the sure of painkillers so that they may reduce pain caused by these bumps. Painkillers usually provide a short-term relief and therefore, further treatment should be carried out.

Never treat a lump on back of head or any other part of your head on your own before finding out what could have caused it. Some lumps are not causes of worry while others are. Therefore, only deal with a condition you can manage.

More references

  1. Hard, small, painful lumps on back of head: http://skintagsremoving.com/hard-small-painful-lumps-on-back-top-left-and-right-side-of-head/
  2. How to deal with lump at base of skull: https://www.enkiverywell.com/lump-at-base-of-skull.html
  3. How to get rid of lumps on scalp: https://www.epainassist.com/sports-injuries/head-and-face-injuries/what-causes-lumps-on-scalp-and-natural-remedies-to-get-rid-of-it
  4. Lump on back of head, neck, behind ear, hurts, hard, and causes: http://howtocure.org/lump/lump-on-back-of-head-under-skin-painful-hurts-to-touch-causes/
  5. Lump on back of head and neck causes and treatment: https://ehealthwall.com/lump-on-back-of-neck-head-causes-and-treatment/