Monday, March 20, 2023

Throbbing Headache On One Side

Must read

Primary Headache Disorders Including Migraine

Vascular headache

Primary headaches occur independently and are not caused by another medical condition. A cascade of events that affect blood vessels and nerves inside and outside the head causes pain signals to be sent to the brain. Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters are involved in creating head pain, as are changes in nerve cell activity.

Primary headache disorders are divided into four main groups:

  • trigeminal autonomic cephalgias
  • miscellaneous primary headache


Migraine headaches are characterized by recurrent attacks of moderate to severe throbbing and pulsating pain on one side of the head. The pain is caused by the activation of nerve fibers that reside within the wall of brain blood vessels traveling within the meninges.

Untreated attacks last from 4 to 72 hours. Other common symptoms are increased sensitivity to light, noise, and odors and nausea and vomiting. Routine physical activity, movement, or even coughing or sneezing can worsen the headache pain.

Migraines occur most frequently in the morning, especially upon waking. Some people have migraines at predictable times, such as before menstruation or on weekends following a stressful week of work. Many people feel exhausted or weak following a migraine but are usually symptom-free between attacks.

A number of different factors can increase your risk of having a migraine. These factors, which trigger the headache process, vary from person to person and include:

Phases of Migraine.

Other types of migraine include:

Medications And Medication Overuse

Excessive use of medication to treat headaches can actually cause headaches. This is the most common secondary headache disorder, and it affects up to of the population. Medication overuse headaches tend to be worst upon awakening.

Common causes of medication overuse headaches include:

  • Simple analgesics. OTC medications like acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause medication overuse headaches when taken 15 or more days per month.
  • Combination pain relievers. Some OTC pain relievers contain a combination of drugs, such as aspirin and caffeine. These can cause headaches when taken 10 or more days per month.
  • Triptans, ergotamines, and opioids. These categories of migraine drugs can cause headaches when used 10 or more days per month.
  • Caffeine. More than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day can also cause headaches.

Prolonged use of these medications in elevated quantities to structural and functional changes to the brain, leading to headaches. Most people can expect to recover from these changes after discontinuing the use of these drugs.

What Research Is Being Done

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , a part of the National Institutes of Health , supports research on headache that may lead to new treatments or perhaps ways to block debilitating headache pain. Studies by other investigators are adding insight to headache etiology and treatment.

Understanding headache disease processes

NIH supports research on the mechanisms and causes of migraine pain including the roles of genetics, gender, and hormones in migraine, and how pain fibers in different parts of the brain and in the brain lining contribute to migraine. NINDS-funded researchers are investigating the influence of other conditions, particularly obesity and sleep disturbance, on migraine onset and severity and the connection between migraine and depression

NINDS funds several projects to develop animal models of headache pain and migraine, which help us to better understand headache mechanisms and test promising therapies. Scientists are using state-of-the-art imaging to detect disease processes and brain changes that occur in headache disorders as well as how headaches result from concussions.

Developing and testing new therapies

The NINDS-supported Childhood and Adolescent Migraine Prevention Study compared two commonly prescribed medications to prevent recurrent migraines in children and adolescents. The findings suggest that migraine treatments for adults may not necessarily work in young people.

Coordinating Pain Research

Also Check: Things To Get Rid Of Headaches

Concussion Not Needing Imaging

A concussion is also known as traumatic brain injury or TBI.

Concussion is the result of being struck in the head. In some cases, especially with infants, being violently shaken so that the head whips back and forth can also cause a concussion.

Most susceptible are those playing contact sports. However, concussion is often the result of an automobile accident or simple fall and can happen to anyone.

Symptoms include headache loss of balance and coordination difficulty with memory and concentration and sometimes, but not always, loss of consciousness.

If symptoms do not clear within a few hours, or seem to get worse, take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through patient history and physical examination. A mild concussion does not show up on imaging because there is no bleeding or swelling in the brain. Mild concussion is entirely a disruption in brain function, with nothing to see on an image.

A concussion does not usually need treatment, but head injuries can result in more serious complications, like bleeding in the brain, you should be seen for an evaluation today, just to be sure. The health care provider will determine if imaging of your head, like a CT scan, is necessary. If your symptoms change or worsen, go to the ER immediately.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: dizziness, irritability, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping

Symptoms that always occur with concussion not needing imaging: head or face injury

Complications Associated With A Throbbing Headache

Pin on Health

Complications are health problems that can arise as a result of a headache disorder.

As an example, migraine is associated with the following rare complications:

You May Like: Why Won’t My Migraine Go Away

What Causes A Headache

The exact cause of headaches is not completely understood. It is thought that many headaches are the result of tight muscles and dilated, or expanded, blood vessels in the head. Although migraine headaches were previously thought to be due to dilated blood vessels in the brain, newer theories suggest that changes in brain chemicals or electrical signaling may be involved. Other headaches may be caused by an alteration in the communication between parts of the nervous system that relay information about pain, coming from the area of the head, face, and neck. Lack of sleep and poor sleep quality are often the cause of chronic headaches. Occasionally, there is an actual problem in the brain, such as a tumor or malformation of the brain, although this is rare.

The way a child exhibits a headache may be related to many factors, such as genetics, hormones, stress, diet, medications, and dehydration. Recurrent headaches of any type can cause school problems, behavioral problems, and/or depression.

Positional Headache: Causes Symptoms & Treatment

Headaches can be symptoms of a wide variety of conditions, ranging in severity from a mild inconvenience to a serious health issue. If you wake up one day with a throbbing headache in the morning that worsens as you go about the day, keep a close eye on your symptoms. This may be the first sign of a low pressure headache, also known as a positional headache, which generally requires medical treatment.

To better identify what type of headache youre experiencing, pay attention to two important clues: which behaviors trigger the pain and which behaviorsif anyalleviate the pain. This can tell you a lot about the nature of your headache and how to treat it.

If you feel a throbbing or pounding headache when standing or sitting up, bending over, or working out and the pain subsides when you are lying down, it is very likely a positional headache.

When youre suffering from a positional headache, the pain is primarily exacerbated and alleviated by your body position. Standing and sitting upright tend to bring on the aching, while lying down reduces or completely eliminates the pain.

Read Also: Hypertension Headache Treatment At Home

What You Should Do About Headaches

Take note of your symptoms when a headache occurs. If its sudden and intense, like a thunderclap headache, it could signal bleeding inside the head. Seek emergency medical attention.

If a headache is less severe, an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be enough to ease your pain.

But if headaches recur or you need to take pain relievers frequently, talk to your doctor. You may not be familiar with the particular pattern of pain, but your doctor likely will be, or can refer you to a headache specialist.

About the Author

Why Am I Experiencing More Headaches Than Usual

What is occipital neuralgia? London Pain Clinic

As a nation, we experience a huge amount of stress every day, whether its from work, carting our kids around or eating unhealthy foods. Everyday stress can certainly trigger headaches.

If you do start experiencing chronic headaches, you may want to take a step back and evaluate some of your behaviors to see where you can eliminate stressors.

You may also experience headaches more often during or shortly after unusual times of stress. More recently, for example, our collective experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has put everyone on edge. Worrying about our families, social distancing from work and our regular routines, and just listening to the news can leave us feeling anxious, upset and out of control. We dont sleep as well and there are moments when we tend to get down. All of these things lead to behaviors that can trigger a headache.

When you do not sleep well, you can experience headaches the following day. Also, drinking alcohol and too much caffeine and smoking can lead to worse headaches.

Sometimes, when you finally are done with a stressful event, like taking a test or completing a hard workweek, you may find that when you try to relax, you experience a headache. This is called the stress let-down response, and it happens because our cortisol, or stress hormone, keeps our bodies up and running when we really need to rest. Headaches happen when that stress hormone finally releases.

Don’t Miss: Pressure Points To Relieve Migraines

How To Prevent Positional Headaches

There is no way to fully prevent positional headaches from developing, as they are generally caused by underlying medical conditions.

However, you may reduce the risks of conditions that cause these headaches by practicing healthy lifestyle habitssuch as eating a well balanced dietand avoiding unnecessary muscle strain.

Risk factors for developing a CSF leak include:

  • Overexerting or straining muscles during physical activity
  • Frequent fits of extreme coughing or sneezing
  • Engaging in activities that jolt or lurch the body around
  • Undergoing certain medical procedures, such as a lumbar puncture
  • Genetic or hereditary conditions, including polycystic kidney disease
  • Tumors or cysts in the head, neck, and spine

There is a greater risk of developing POTS in people who:

  • Suffer from an autoimmune condition
  • Have recently experienced mono, or a serious infection or virus
  • Have recently suffered a traumatic head injury
  • Are or were recently pregnant

New Daily Persistent Headache

Symptoms: Best described as the rapid development of unrelenting headache. Typically presents in a person with no past history of headache.

Precipitating Factors: Does not evolve from migraine or episodic tension-type headache. It begins as a new headache and may be the result of a viral infection.

Treatment: Can resolve on its own within several months. Other cases persist and are more refractory.

Prevention: Does not respond to traditional options, but anti-seizure medications, Topamax, or Neurontine can be used.

Read Also: Can Weather Changes Cause Migraines

Types & Causes Of Pulsating Headaches

There are many different variations of pulsating headaches, and some people are more susceptible to certain types. The kind of work you do can play a role, as can genetics. Examine the following types of headaches to determine which you believe is afflicting you.

More often than not, pulsating headaches are only a result of the above few conditions and can be cured or reduced with a treatment plan. However, if the headache is recurrent and medicines do not seem to be working, it is important to check for more serious secondary causes such as meningitis, stroke or brain tumor. This is a rare thing to happen, however, it is best to rule out any possibility of an underlying ailment.

Other Causes Of A Low Pressure Headache

Right side migraine causes  Arrue

While the two conditions above are the most common causes, the following health issues may also cause someone to develop a positional headache.

  • Structural neck issues: Conditions that impact the skeletal muscles, intervertebral discs, joints, nerves, blood vessels, or connective tissue in the neck can result in a specific type of positional headache called a cervicogenic headache.
  • Dehydration: When a person is severely dehydrated, they may experience a steep drop in blood pressure when they stand up causing a headache in an upright position.
  • Anemia: Significant blood loss for any reason, including anemia, means less blood is flowing to the brain, which can cause a headache that may worsen when standing up.
  • Brain tumors: Tumors can block the flow of CSF to the brain, causing significant changes in CSF pressure when a person changes positions from lying down to standing up.
  • Trauma or surgical procedures: CSF leaks can occur after trauma to the head or neck, certain spinal surgical procedures or after a lumbar puncture .

Also Check: One Side Headache And Ear Pain

Headache On Left Side Of Head: Causes And Treatment

Home » Blog » Headache on Left Side of Head: Causes and Treatment

If recurring headaches on the left side of the head make it hard for you to sleep, work or live a normal life, seek medical help. The expert pain specialist Dr.Amr Hosny at Advanced Headache Center is experienced in diagnosing and treating every type of headache. Relying on modern diagnostic equipment and multidisciplinary approaches, they will develop the best solutions to provide quick and lasting relief.

Headaches on the left side of the head can result from migraines, cluster headaches, or even tension-type headaches. The pain comes on slowly or suddenly and may feel sharp or dull and throbbing. In some cases, the pain radiates to the neck, teeth, or behind the eyes. Headache that subsides within a few hours does not cause concern, but intense pain in one side of the head or pain that does not go away can be serious.

There are two main types of headaches, primary and secondary. Both these types are different, but they can have similar symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish one from another. Headaches can be bothersome, especially when you dont know what is causing them. Finding effective treatment in such a case can be challenging, and you must work with an experienced physician to know more about pain management.

Other Causes Of Thunderclap Headache

Besides a ruptured brain aneurysm, a thunderclap headache can occur with other serious health conditions, such as:

Don’t Miss: Why Do I Get Migraines Everyday

When To Seek Medical Attention

While most headaches dont necessarily call for medical attention, its important to remember that the pain might be related to something more serious and dangerous. Get emergency medical help if you in the following cases:

  • Loss of consciousness following head impact
  • Very rapid onset of headache
  • Pain is more severe than usual
  • The pain worsens over 24 hours

Other cases should prompt a call to your healthcare provider. Do so if, alongside your headache, you experience the following:

  • Fever and stiff neck
  • Vision problems, such as vision loss or seeing double
  • Pain in one eye, accompanied by redness
  • Problems swallowing or chewing

How Are Headaches Diagnosed

Headaches Behind Skull & Eyes (Great Self-Help Techniques) Occipital Neuralgia

The full extent of the problem may not be completely understood immediately, but may be revealed with a comprehensive medical evaluation and diagnostic testing. The diagnosis of a headache is made with a careful history and physical examination and diagnostic tests. During the examination, the doctor obtains a complete medical history of the child and family.

Questions commonly asked during the examination may include the following:

  • When do headaches occurs?

  • What is the location of the headache?

  • What do the headaches feel like?

  • How long do the headaches last?

  • Have there been changes in walking and behavior patterns, or personality?

  • Do changes in positioning or sitting-up cause the headache?

  • Is your child having trouble sleeping?

  • Does your child have a history of emotional stress?

  • Is there a history of trauma to your child’s head or face?

If the history is consistent with migraine or tension type headaches and the neurological exam is normal, no further diagnostic testing may be necessary.

Other diagnostic tests may include:

Also Check: Symptoms Headache And Sore Throat

What To Expect At Your Office Visit

Your provider will take a medical history and will examine your head, eyes, ears, nose, throat, neck, and nervous system.

Your provider will ask many questions to learn about your headaches. Diagnosis is usually based on your history of symptoms.

Tests may include:

  • Blood tests or a lumbar puncture if you may have an infection
  • Head CT scan or MRI if you have any danger signs or you have been having headaches for a while

When Should You See A Doctor About A Headache

Headaches not only cause you pain, but can result in loss of productivity and income. If you have ongoing headaches, its important to see your doctor to try and figure out the cause, rather than just put up with the pain. Keep in mind that most headaches do not point to a serious illness, extra worry about your headache might make it worse!

See your doctor if your headaches are frequent, youve had a headache for more than a few days, or your headaches are causing you stress or worry.

Rarely, a headache might be a sign of a serious medical condition. You should seek immediate medical attention if you:

  • have a sudden, very severe headache, and its the first time its happened
  • are experiencing any of the signs of stroke including a dropped face on one side droopy mouth or eye cannot lift one or both arms or have slurred or garbled speech
  • have a headache accompanied by a stiff neck and fever
  • have signs of severe dehydration or heat stroke
  • may have been poisoned by ingesting, inhaling or touching a substance, or being bitten or stung by a poisonous animal or plant
  • or have injured your head from a fall, blow or bump.

Also Check: Eye Twitching And Headaches Neck Pain

More articles

Popular Articles