Headache on left side of head

Headaches can be defined as an ache or pain that can be dull or severe and affect either the head or the upper part of the neck. Headaches have varied causes and are one of the most common symptoms of different types of illnesses.

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Types of headaches

A large section of the population suffers from headaches which can be caused due to numerous reasons. Therefore, the treatment for the various types of headaches can sometimes be difficult. Hence, in the year 2007 the International Headache Society came up with a definitive and updated system of classification for headaches.

The new classification system of headaches have facilitated an easier diagnosis of the different kinds of headaches by the health care providers and resulted in efficient, better, faster and more effective treatment methods.

Headaches can be categorized into three major types:

  • The primary headaches
  • The secondary headaches
  • The cranial neuralgias, facial pain and other kinds of headaches

Primary headaches

Migraines, cluster headaches and tension headaches as well as a varied number of other types of headache that are less common can be categorized under primary headaches.

The most common form of primary headache is the tension headache. Women are generally more affected by tension headaches than men and around ninety percent of the general population has been affected or may be affected by tension headaches.

Tension headaches usually result in headaches on the left side of the head.

Symptoms of headache on the left side of the head

Some of the symptoms of tension headaches or headache on the left side of the head are listed below:

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  • The resultant pain from the headache can be likened to the tightness or pressure of a rubber band.  The pain generally tends to start from the back of the head or the upper portion of the neck.
  • The pain is often described as one that encircles the head with added and intense pressure that is prominent over the eyebrows.
  • The pain tends to be bilateral or affecting both the sides of the head. However, there are greater instances of severe pain on the left side of the head. The pain is not disabling and is mild on most occasions.
  • Side effects such as nausea, increased sensitivity to sound or light, vomiting, etc. which are associated with other kinds of headaches do not result from pain caused due to tension headaches.
  • The pain does not lead to disruption of the daily life activities, chores or work and most people are able to function normally.
  • Most individuals have infrequent or sporadic instances of the pain without any definite pattern. However, certain individuals may have daily and frequent occurrences of the pain.

Causes of headache on the left side of the head

  • Even though tension headache that results in headaches on the left side of the head is one of the most common forms of headaches, not much is known about its causes. In addition, there is very little research work that has been done to shed light on its causes.
  • Most of the evidence that is available points to the contraction of muscles that cover the skull as one of the most likely causes of headache on the left side of the head.
  • Increased levels of stress on the muscles covering the skull result in spasms that eventually lead to the pain. Some of the common places where the skull muscles tend to react include the left side of the head, the lower end of the skull wherein the trapezius muscles present in the neck enter, the temple which has the various muscles that facilitate the movement of the jaw and the forehead in general.
  • Any kind of emotional or physical stress that is endured by the body can lead to headache on the left side of the head.
  • Physical stressors such as manual labor that is prolonged and places great difficulties on the body, or sitting for prolonged periods at a desk, or concentrating for prolonged periods on a computer can cause the muscles that surround the skull to clench the teeth thereby resulting in a spasm and tension headaches.
  • Any form of emotional stress can also result in the contraction of the skull muscles.

Treatment of headache on the left side of the head

Headaches on the left side of the head or tension headaches can be treated in the following ways:

  • Intake of over the counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen. However, if individuals are taking prescription medications for underlying medical conditions, then the above mentioned over the counter medications should only be consumed after consulting a doctor to avoid adverse side effects and other complications.
  • Stress management, massages as well as biofeedback can all be used to complement the medications that are consumed to treat headache on the left side of the head.
  • In case the above methods fail and there are recurrent headaches, then a visit to a doctor is essential for evaluation and proper diagnosis.
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