Headaches can actually be more complicated than many people realize. There are many different types of headaches, each with its own symptoms and causes. As such different types of headaches need different treatment techniques.
For instance, a minor headache can be a nuisance but can be treated with some over-the-counter medication. But a severe headache can give you reason to worry about its cause. Therefore, it becomes important to first establish the type of headache that you are suffering from. This will help you find the right treatment and a way to prevent future headaches.
What Are Some Different Types Of Headaches?
There are a lot of different types of headaches with the most common ones mentioned below:
Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches. They are also known as stress headaches. People often complain of tension headaches feeling like a band tied around their forehead.
But are they related to causing a headache above the left eye? Well, not entirely. Instead the headache can bring about a mild, moderate or severe pain in the back of the head or the neck. Typically a dull head pain and pressure, or tenderness around the forehead are common symptoms. The shoulders or neck can also ache. In some cases, tension headaches may also cause sensitivity to loud noise and bright light.
These types of headaches occur due to muscular contractions in the head and neck regions. For the most part, people who suffer from tension headaches have episodic experiences. That goes to say that the headache recurs once or twice every month. But where the condition is chronic, tension headaches can happen in episodes that go on for more than 15 days every month.
Tension headaches are triggered by emotional stress, fatigue and problems with the joints or muscles of the neck or jaw.
Most tension headaches can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. You can also use a heating pad or warm shower to seek relief. If you can identify triggers like skipping meals or working extraneously, avoid these triggers. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga to help relieve your headache.
Migraine headaches are identified by a pounding, throbbing pain. The pain may be felt on one or both sides of the head. The headache may continue for a couple of hours or a few days without abating. The frequency can range from one to four times every month.
People who suffer from migraine headaches experience a number of other symptoms like light and noise sensitivity, and nausea and vomiting. Some people may also have a hard time with certain smells and may experience loss of appetite. Others may experience a distinct headache over their left eye, or the right one.
Because migraine symptoms can vary a lot, many sufferers believe that they have sinus or tension headaches instead, and not migraines.
Spotting a migraine headache early on can help with treating it. Use a NSAID if you feel a migraine coming on, or your doctor may give you a prescription drug.
Some people may be able to prevent migraines by avoiding dietary triggers like chocolate, alcohol, aged cheeses and caffeine. Others can try therapy for occasional attacks. Or try to massage the headache over the left eye to find relief.
Mixed Headache Syndrome
This type of headache is also called a transformed migraine and exhibits a mixture of tension and migraine headache symptoms. Most often people who suffer from migraine headaches can develop this type of headache.
When a transformed headache starts, it may be mild in severity but high in frequency. In fact, it may start to happen every day. If you suffer from a transformed headache you may also experience some nausea and vomiting like regular migraines.
Because transformed headaches can be difficult to diagnose, many people receive the incorrect treatment. Instead of correcting the condition, people may end up taking too many pain relievers which can develop tolerance to drugs.
Treatment for this type of headaches remains difficult and involves consultation with a specialist. Preventive therapies like anticonvulsant and antidepressant medications may be used.
Along with treatment, most experts recommend healthy lifestyle habits such as eating and sleeping on time. Also, make exercise a regular part of your day. With these changes, the aim here is to revert headaches from daily to episodic attacks.
Cluster headaches feel intense and trigger a burning or piercing pain behind the eyes. You can also experience the headache above the left eye or the right one. The pain can be either throbbing or constant. The reason they are called cluster headaches is because they occur in clusters or groups.
The discomfort of cluster headaches can be so debilitating that sufferers may not be able to sit still and will find themselves pacing during an episode.
There is no cure for cluster headaches. Instead, the goal here is to limit the severity of the pain and reduce the frequency of the headache episodes.
Some fast acting treatment options include briefly inhaling oxygen, using triptans or local anaesthetics.
Sinus headaches can make you experience a deep and constant pain in your cheekbones, forehead or the bridge of your nose. This happens when the sinuses, or the cavities in the head, become inflamed.
In this case, the headache comes with symptoms like runny nose, fever, and facial swelling. There may also be a headache over the left or right eye. Allergies can also cause sinus congestion. This can make your head hurt. While the treatment for allergies can treat congestion, it will not relieve the headache pain. Instead both conditions will need to be treated separately.
The goal is to relieve symptoms and treat infection, if there is one. You may need to use antibiotics along with antihistamines and decongestants to feel better. Some people go with using pain relievers or corticosteroids to treat inflammation.
If the cause is allergies, then you might need a preventive allergy treatment.
Why Do I Have A Headache Above Left Eye?
The severity of the pain around the eye does not indicate the gravity of the underlying cause. For example, even a small problem like a superficial abrasion can become very painful. But much more serious eye conditions like macular degeneration or cataracts do not present any eye pain.
Eye pain may also be accompanied by blurred vision, redness or some sensitivity to light.
Some common causes of pain around the eyes include the following reasons:
This type of headache is characterized by a severe stabbing pain that is felt around the left or right eye or temple. The duration of the headache can be anywhere between 15 minutes to three hours long. The frequency can be once every other day up to eight times daily.
If the cluster headache is above left eye, then you will also experience runny nose, tearing, congestion, sweating and droopy eyelid on the same side as the headache pain.
Sinus Infection Headaches
These types of headaches trigger similar symptoms to those of cluster headaches. If you have a sinus infection, the headache can occur in or around the right eye or the left. You will also likely feel pressure-like pain behind your eyes. The discomfort of a sinus headache will worsen if there are sudden head movements like bending forward. The pain may also be more acute in the morning because of collecting mucus overnight.
You may also suffer from postnasal drip accompanied by a sore throat. Some people may experience a green or yellow discharge from the nose as well. There will often be a feeling of general malaise with some degree of fever.
This is a condition that causes damage to the eye’s optic nerve and progresses with time. The problem is often linked to pressure buildup inside the eye and can cause a headache above the left eye. If the right eye is affected, the same can happen on that side as well.
In many cases, glaucoma is inherited and may only become apparent later on in life. If the damage caused by glaucoma remains untreated, the condition may lead to permanent vision loss.
Tumors or Infections of the Eye
Even though these are rare, tumors of the eye can trigger pain which is experienced as a headache above the left eye. The same can also happen on the other side if the right eye is affected.
Infections of the eye are more common and are caused by bacteria or viruses. Eye infections can bring about irritation, redness, itching and tearing from the eyes. There can also be a discharge and crusting around the eye. Depending on the severity of the infection, you may experience headaches above the left eye or the right one if either eye or both are infected.
In case of a pink eye, a common eye infection, the eye can become sore to touch. Inflammation in the eye causes small blood vessels to become more prominent and gives the eye a red or pink look. Pink eye may be caused by some sort if irritation such as an eyelash, or chlorine after swimming. Another reason could be allergens such as dust mites, pollen or dander.
An aneurysm is a swollen blood vessel in the brain. The swelling occurs near the veins at the base of the brain and can produce intense migraine like headaches.
In many cases, people who suffer from aneurysms do not realize it until they begin to experience headaches. Diagnosing an aneurysm may be difficult as the symptoms often mimic those of migraine headaches.
You may experience a headache over the left eye if the aneurysm is located in the left side of the brain. Other symptoms may include experiencing blurry vision, neck pain or speech distortions.
Should a brain aneurysm leak or get ruptured, you may experience it as the worst headache of your life. Sharp pain, resembling a thunderclap headache or crash migraine can often accompany physical exertion.
Headaches above the left eye can immediately follow a head injury or may occur after some time and may persist for days or months. It is easy to understand why head trauma can cause headaches since brain function can be disturbed by the injury.
The features of such post traumatic headaches can vary from one person to the next. As such the treatment of such headaches is symptomatic. This means that every symptom is treated individually so that the headache will go away.
There may be some swelling or internal bleeding after a head injury. A small blood clot may form and slowly get bigger. The growing clot can create pressure in the skull and cause you to experience a headache over the left eye or the right one.
Sometimes confusion and sleepiness may also occur.
As long as the headaches start to get better, they will likely not present a problem. But a persistent headache paired with drowsiness and personality changes is a more serious situation and demands medical intervention.
Headaches associated with head trauma are often experienced by athletes and other sports person who engage in contact sports frequently.
When to Worry About a Headache
Most types of headaches can be dealt with using pain relievers. But others may demand prompt medical care. To know when you should worry about a headache, here is a list of some warning signs:
- Headaches that develop after the age of 50
- When the pattern or frequency of your headaches change
- Headaches that escalate with movement, such as bending, coughing or sneezing
- Changes in mental function
- Headaches which are followed by fever, confusion, neck stiffness or decreased alertness
- Experiencing more severe than usual headaches
- Headaches that cause slurred speech, visual disturbances or overall fatigue
- Appeare with tenderness and pain near temples
- Headaches following a blow to the head