Is a medium-sized bump on the back of your head normal?

You can rest easy, the bump at the back of your skull is a normal feature of every human's skull. It's called the occipital protuberance.

On its own, a lump like that may not mean anything at all. People can quite often develop small fatty build-ups called lipomas, which sit just below the skin. These are harmless.

There are also some glands at the back of your head, just below the largest prominence of bone. These are called the occipital lymph nodes. It is possible (although not common) to develop a lymphoma of these glands. While not wanting to scare you, you should definitely get these checked by your doctor, particularly if they have been getting any larger, or you experience weight loss or night sweats.

More input from contributors:

  • Bumps on the back of the head usually mean one of two things. One caused by muscle tension and stress. The other which is hereditary, i have this bump as well as my entire family. It is called the anatolian bump. It comes from an isolated area in turkey.
  • My Dad had these small lumps, not only on his head, but also on his arms and legs. He was told that some people make lumps and some make stones eg gall bladder and kidney stones. He was also told they were to do with Cholesterol and that they were okay unless they caused pain. One big one in his leg made it sore when he walked and they removed it in day surgery. I don't think anyone should worry about these as my dad is still going strong!
  • For as long as I can remember I have had a medium sized bump on the back of my head. It is not visually prominent but can be felt. It is definitely bone as it is hard and gives me no pain. I have never had any sort of pain or problem with it but I am getting it looked at by a doctor soon.
  • The bump you are experiencing is most likely a Sebaceous Cyst. Nothing to worry about.
  • Answer I discovered one to but different from the others mine causes me pain if i touch it, I've had it for a while and no health problems. Just an inconvenience i keep on forgetting to see the doctor because i rarely put pressure on that spot. If it was something really bad i think i would have headaches, nosebleeds or something else.
  • 5 years ago i was diagnosed with chronic headaches, but the reason was unknown. I realized that the worse the headache the larger the golf ball sized hard mass would grow. and when i didn't have a headache the lumps wasn't there at all. the doctor put me on topamax, which i slowly weaned my self off of and i was headache free for 5 years, now it is time to go see the doctor again.
  • I recently discovered that my boyfriend has a small bump on the back of his head that is about the size of a dime or nickel. His mother has it as well. They both suffer from really bad headaches and I noticed that he gets them when he is applying pressure to it by laying down or resting his head back on something that isn't soft. It worries me a little, but I am wondering if it is genetic, because his mother has it as well. However the fact that it causes him to have terrible headaches makes me wonder if it isn't more.
  • I am 21 years old and i think i may have a cyst at the back of my head on the left hand side half way up the rear of my head. I have had it since i was 15 ive never had it checked out because it has never caused me any pain or discomfort as yet. It is just a bit smaller than 5pence piece, its like half of a small ball sticking out of your head. It doesn't seem to have grown in size over the past 3 years but i have had 2 small ones appear on the top of my head close to each other, each 1 being about half the size of a peanut. Ive not been to my gp or anything like that to be honest it was my barber who thought it may be a cyst. I think its time i got this sorted out so any comments or advise would be much appreciated.
  • I have a medium sized hard lump which feels completely like bone. The skin is normal around it and over it. I noticed it about six months ago. I have had no symptoms or problems with it at all, and this is even more worrying because no doctor was able to give me an explanation. I was wondering whether I could have banged my head and the lump just never went away, but it feels like part of the skull. It is compeletely baffling me.
  • I have a similar lump on the back of my head, near my right ear. I was worried so I went to the doctor. According to him there is a line running roughly from ear to ear around the back of your skull to which the ligaments from your neck attach. The lump I found is simply a nodule of bone and ligament built up on that line where the neck ligaments attach. And (interestingly) these lumps and bumps on that line can slowly migrate around over the years! Amazing.
  • I am 40 and now have a slightly tender, ping pong sized ball on the lower, left rear of my head. It's making me sick with worry and suppose I will go to doctor. However when I was about 26, I found a marble sized, bone hard lump on the left front of my skull. The doctor removed it and it turned out to be a perfectly normal, harmless piece of calcified bone.
  • I have had a hard lump on the back of my head for 5 months now. I am now 31 and was diagnosed with RA in April of 2005. It seems as though as soon as I was diagnosed and started on a cocktail of meds, I just woke up with the lump one morning, (also woke up with a swollen lymph node in my armpit, which has since proved to be benign). The General Surgeon that I see does not seem to be concerned with it as it has not grown, however 4 out of 5 days I have excruciating headaches in which I have attributed to all the meds. Who know at this point. I am seeking a second opinion now.
  • I have two small like pea size bumps on my head, one on the left side and one on the right. I've had one of them there since I was younger and the left side one is starting to grow. I haven't notified my doctor because I don't know if its serious and I don't know if I will have to go through surgery and if they are going to need to cut all my hair off.
  • I have a small hard lump on the back of my head, its weird as its in the dead center of the back of my head. It's hard like bone and doesn't move about with my skin. I'm going to the doctors in a few days just to make sure it is not anything bad!
  • I have a similar thing, its one bump in the dead center of my head, it only worries me when I think about it but I can feel it when I put pressure on it (i.e. lie down with pressure directly on my head ie. dentist chair). It's fixed and feels like bone. It doesn't move around when I touch it but gets bigger and smaller as I tilt my head forwards and backwards, as if its attached to my skull. It doesn't hurt and a doctor checked it out and he said that if my mum has it (she does, just not as big) then I should be okay, as long as its not growing or changing over time. Hope that helps.