What Causes Pain on the Left Side of the Head?
If you are wondering what causes pain on the left side of the head, this article is for you. Learn about cluster headaches, migraine, and sinusitis.
You’ll learn about the causes and symptoms of cluster headaches, too. If you’ve ever had one of these headaches, you’re not alone.
Half a million Americans will experience one during their lifetime. Migraine and cluster headaches both originate in the brain.
Treatment for Trigeminal neuralgia involves the cutting of a section of the nerve, thereby halting the blood vessels that press on the trigeminal nerve.
The procedure can cause long-lasting numbness in the face and may lead to recurrence of the pain. However, surgery for Trigeminal neuralgia does not necessarily require a hospital stay.
Treatments for trigeminal neuralgia include drug and non-drug treatments. Anti-depressants, such as amitriptyline, bupropion, doxepin, duloxetine, and paroxtine, alter the chemical action in the brain that triggers sensation of pain.
Nerve blocks, which block sensory nerve activity, may also be used as treatment for Trigeminal neuralgia.
People with this disorder often notice short-term jolts of pain that are triggered by simple activities. Wind blowing on the face may trigger an attack.
In some cases, sufferers may even notice numbness days before the pain begins. They may also need to consult a physician for further treatment.
These attacks can become chronic and require surgery to relieve the symptoms. People with this condition can experience one single attack, or have recurrent episodes that last for hours or minutes.
Sometimes, patients do not experience any symptoms between attacks, making them terribly distraught. Pain can recur months or even years later. As a result, trigeminal neuralgia should not be mistaken for a life-threatening disease.
A migraine is a recurring, severe headache that typically lasts four to 72 hours. Symptoms of a migraine can include sensitivity to light and sound, difficulty concentrating, nausea and vomiting.
Migraine pain can be aggravated by routine physical activity, such as walking, coughing, or sneezing. The pain is most severe in the morning and immediately after waking.
A migraine sufferer may experience extreme fatigue and nausea, which is exacerbated by movement.
The symptoms of a migraine can be difficult to describe. Headaches are often felt in the same spot on the head and last for up to three hours.
The location and severity of the pain vary from person to person, so identifying triggers is important. Once you recognize your trigger, there are several treatments available.
For severe headaches, oral corticosteroids can help ease the pain. Migraine medications can also reduce nausea, improve sleep, and treat vascular disease.
Although the cause of migraines is not yet known, researchers are increasingly looking at genetics as a possible culprit.
Migraines tend to run in families and are common among immediate blood relatives.
Research efforts are focused on identifying the genes responsible for migrainesGenetic studies have identified a gene for familial hemiplegic migraine, a form of inherited migraine
.These studies can provide new insights into the cause of migraine and lead to a cure for this affliction.
Despite being the most common cause of sinusitis, the condition may also occur for a variety of reasons. These include allergies and a variety of bacteria.
While colds and allergies can also cause sinusitis, these conditions are usually triggered by an anatomical problem.
When blockages form in the sinuses, they provide a breeding ground for harmful germs. Regardless of the cause, sinus pain is a frustrating, often painful condition.
A physical examination of the head and neck is necessary to make the right diagnosis. A thorough physical exam will identify any potential causes of sinusitis, and imaging studies may be necessary to determine a precise diagnosis.
A scope device is another common diagnostic tool that enables physicians to see tissues and assess the severity of the disease.
If this is the cause, treatment will be tailored accordingly. But for now, there is no definitive cure for sinusitis.
When the cause of sinusitis is unknown, a physician can prescribe antibiotics for 10 to 14 days. It’s important to take the prescribed antibiotics for the full course of treatment, as antibiotics can have side effects ranging from mild to severe.
Some infections, such as C. diff, can even lead to serious health issues. For example, antibiotic-resistant strains can cause diarrhea and colon damage, or even death.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, doctors may recommend antibiotics only if the sinus infection is severe. Sometimes, doctors may recommend watchful waiting.
Symptoms of vasculitis can range from mild to severe, but they are mostly non-life-threatening. T
hose who experience intermittent attacks are not at risk for permanent disability, although severe cases can damage important organ systems.
Depending on the severity of the disease, a patient may require long-term therapy or ongoing symptom management to ensure that the condition does not worsen. In severe cases, the pain may last a lifetime.
Several tests are used to diagnose vasculitis. The first step is a biopsy. If a tissue sample is taken, it will help determine whether the disease is affecting the brain or other parts of the body.
Blood vessels can become narrow and swollen or can even rupture. These changes can cut off blood flow to certain organs and tissues.
Fortunately, doctors are able to differentiate between different types of vasculitis by examining the affected organs and blood vessels.
Although there is no specific treatment for vasculitis, there are a variety of ways to find information and get connected with experts.
Among these options are the Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium (VCRC). This network is composed of academic medical centers, patient support groups, and other resources.
By searching for specific research and resources, individuals can find clinical trials that address their specific symptoms.
In addition, the VCRC website contains links to published research and information about clinical trials.
While it is possible to treat tension headaches with over-the-counter analgesics, these may be ineffective and should not be used for more than a few days without consulting a doctor.
Always take the dosage recommended on the label. Medications may include biofeedback, yoga, and relaxation techniques to relieve the pain.
Taking medication to prevent tension headaches may also be helpful, including a prescription for a tricyclic antidepressant.
Symptoms of tension headaches are often a band of intense pressure across the forehead. It is uncomfortable but typically does not prevent people from sleeping.
Most people can carry on with their work and daily activities while experiencing this pain. The headache is not made worse by physical activity, though it can be sensitive to bright light and noise.
If you suffer from tension headaches, your doctor may recommend an anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen, to reduce the stress on the muscles that cause the headache.
In addition to anti-inflammatory medications, tension headaches can also be caused by sudden and strenuous exercise, a certain type of food, or a weakened blood vessel.
A doctor may recommend biofeedback if you notice any changes in your headache patterns.
In some cases, these headaches may be caused by a more serious medical condition, such as a tumor in the brain or a ruptured blood vessel.
While most tension headaches can be diagnosed with a history and physical examination, it is wise to seek medical advice if the pain persists and is affecting your life.
The symptoms of occipital neuropathic pain are similar to those of migraines, but are more intense and piercing.
Usually, episodes of occipital neuropathic pain last for several minutes, and tend to occur on one side of the head.
It is important to seek medical attention immediately, as the symptoms may be caused by other conditions.
Treatment for occipital neuropathic pain often involves a combination of non-surgical methods and physical examination.
A physical examination and neurological examination will help rule out other causes of the condition. Imaging tests may be required, including an MRI and a computed tomography scan.
Nerve blocks may be performed to confirm the diagnosis. If no other diagnosis is found, a combination of noninvasive treatments and neurological tests will be recommended.
Occipital neuropathic pain may be accompanied by burning or tingling behind the eyes. It may also be caused by a pinched nerve or inflammation.
While there are several possible causes, most often, the condition is due to a pinched or inflamed nerve in the neck or head.
The pain may be localized or radiate to the sides of the head, behind the ears, or above the neck.
Occipital neuropathic pain can be caused by injury or inflammation in the occipital nerves, which run from the top of the spinal cord to the scalp.
Pain from these nerves is so intense that it interferes with functions such as sleep or functioning.
Because the pain is localized to a specific area, it can be mistaken for a migraine or another type of headache.
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