Some people experience pulsing sensations around their temples. Others are more familiar with a sharp or splitting pain in their forehead. There is the unfortunate stabbing sensation that hits you behind your eyes. All of these locations and pains mean different things, but have you ever wondered why they occur at those locations?
Whether you wake up in pain or it happens over the course of your day, a headache is never enjoyable. You want it gone as quickly as possible, even if that means icing your neck, massaging your temples, or meditating with an essential oil diffuser. The location of the headache pain can give you some insight to the cause and the best way to treat it. Below, we detail five headache locations and the best way to help remedy them.
A quick note: While most headaches are not dangerous, some may require medical attention, as they can be a sign of a more serious health issue. If you experience headache pain along with fever, confusion, fainting, loss of consciousness, weakness, imbalances, loss of vision, or speech impairments, seek medical care.
Back Of Your Head And Neck
A headache that hangs around the back of your head may indicate a cervicogenic headache. A secondary headache for short, the pain of a cervicogenic headache doesn’t originate in the head; rather, it radiates up from the neck. These headaches tend to stem from neck problems or injuries, according to health experts. The pain usually starts from the base of your skull and radiates up one side of your head. The reason for this is because of the functional connectivity of pain sensitive structures in the head and neck regions.
In order to fix this headache pain, health experts recommend physical therapy, especially if a past injury is the cause. Rehabbing your neck muscles, where the pain is rooted, can help reduce the risk of future cervicogenic headaches. Additionally, massaging the neck can help relieve muscle tension and may be beneficial for people with occipital neuralgia.
Front Of Your Head And Face
Throbbing head and facial pain, such as pressure around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead, often indicates a sinus headache. You can also experience nasal congestion and fatigue along with this type of headache. If you bend forward, the pain tends to increase. Because migraines manifest similar symptoms, it can be difficult to differentiate the two headaches. Roughly 90% of people who complain about sinus headaches are later diagnosed with migraines. Nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light are not linked to sinus headaches, but they are common with migraines.
Sinus headaches usually occur in conjunction with the common cold, upper respiratory tract infections, or seasonal allergies. For this reason, treating those underlying symptoms can help resolve this type of headache pain.
Around Your Whole Head
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a tight band squeezing your entire head. This is the typical description of a tension headache, which is commonly triggered by poor sleep and stress. Tension headaches are characterized by pressure and tightness around the entire head, and they often go hand in hand with tension in the neck, shoulders, and jaw.
The most common way to treat tension headaches is by taking over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. However, if you don’t want to immediately resort to these medications, you can try some tension-relieving exercises. Getting quality sleep and learning to manage stress can also help you avoid them moving forward.
Side Of Your Head
Many headaches can cause pain to occur on one side of the head, but this type of pain is most commonly associated with migraines. Migraines can cripple you, producing severe throbbing or pulsing unilateral head pain that can last for hours, days even. When you experience a migraine, you may also develop sensitivity to light and sound. Vomiting and nausea tend to accompany the head pain as well.
To fix this type of pain, you should consult your doctor, especially if you experience migraines on a regular basis. Your doctor may be able to detail a proper treatment plan, which may involve medication and avoiding certain triggers.
In Your Temples
Migraine and tension headaches can cause pain in your temples. That said, pain in the temples can often be attributed to a rare condition known as temporal arteritis. Health experts explain that temporal arteritis occurs when blood vessels near the temples constrict and become inflamed. This health issue is more common in people over the age of 50. In addition to the throbbing sensation in your temples, it’s possible to experience fever, fatigue, jaw pain, vision problems, muscle aches in the upper arms, loss of appetite, and tenderness at the scalp or temples.
If you have temporal arteritis, you have to treat it immediately. Doctors often prescribe steroids to counter the pain as quickly as possible. If you don’t treat temporal arteritis, it can worsen and lead to blindness and other complications.