Unexplained headaches affecting the left side of the head can sometimes be a sign of serious underlying issues and calls for the ‘right’ treatment. The good news is that of the huge number of people who experience headaches (approximately 50 percent of adults worldwide) only very few are because of something serious. “That however does not mean that you can take left-side headaches lightly,” says a new study.
Understanding the causes and symptoms of primary headaches that may cause pain on the left side can help differentiate them from more serious conditions. Primary headaches, the ones involving straightforward treatment, are generally migraines, tension headaches and cluster headaches.
The more serious ones may be attributable to injuries, inflammatory disease and blood vessel related and medication overuse.
Migraines, which affect women more than men, are associated with severe, throbbing headache, usually on one side of the head that may start around the eye and then radiate across the head. Migraine is accompanied by one or several of the following symptoms:
- changes to vision
- nausea and vomiting
- extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch, or smell
- numbness or a tingling sensation in the face or extremities
Tension headaches, which account for up to 42 percent of headaches worldwide, are characterised by pain on the left side and behind the eyes, and may be linked to stress. These are less severe than migraines but can still be quite unbearable. Among its symptoms are:
tight, pressing pain that may start behind the eyes and spread across the forehead or the back of the head
- a feeling like the head is in a vice
- tight neck and shoulder muscles
- pain often feels worse at the end of the day
- pain behind one eye, one temple, or one side of the forehead
- pain becomes most intense after 5-10 minutes
- severe pain lasts between 30-60 minutes
- less intense pain may continue for up to 3 hours
The cause of a headache on the left side could be a cluster headache. Millions of Indians experience an episode of cluster headache at least once in their life. These are extremely painful and are often accompanied by the following symptoms:
Sometimes a headache on the left side is not a primary headache but is due to an underlying condition. Some are more serious than others.
For more read Headache on the left side: Symptoms, causes, and treatment