Sharp Pain in the Left Side of Head

sharp pain in the left side of my head that comes and goes

Sharp pain in the left side of head are among the more typical factors individuals seek healthcare. The causes range from benign to severe and possibly life threatening. Knowing when to see a doctor is essential and can secure the quality of your life and health.

Headaches are a typical occurrence. The causes vary from benign to life threatening. Examples consist of migraine headaches, swelling, stress and more major causes such as stroke, brain growth and hypertension. Headaches that are severe, relentless or associated with other symptoms such as fever, weak point or vision changes need a journey to the doctor. For particular conditions, like stroke and brain growths, seeking healthcare early can have a considerable impact on the result of treatment.

Causes of Sharp Pain in the Left Side of Head

Occipital Neuralgia

This type of head pain happens due to irritation or pinching of nerves at the base of the skull. It can be brought on by injury, disk herniation or brain growths. These kinds of headaches are referred to as throbbing, stabbing, shock-like or jabbing pain on one side of the head. Some individuals also note scalp inflammation and level of sensitivity to light. This headache can be severe in character but is not life threatening.

Treatment choices consist of applying warm wet heat to the neck, resting in a peaceful environment, neck and muscle massage and a trial of OTC medications such as ibuprofen, Tylenol or Aleve. A medical doctor may prescribe more powerful pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and antidepressant or anticonvulsant medications. Other options include nerve blocks and steroid injections. Seldom is surgery required.

Migraine headache

Migraine headaches are amongst the most common reasons for severe headaches and can be crippling. These headaches might take place on the left side of the head and are referred to as pounding and pulsating. Added symptoms often include queasiness, throwing up, visual flashes and light sensitivity. These headaches last from 4 to 72 hours or more. Lots of suffer persistent migraine headache headaches and need preventative medications and regular physician check outs to reduce the effect on lifestyle.

Treatment of migraine headaches usually includes rest, muscle relaxation exercises, mediation, appropriate sleep and workout. A headache diary is an useful way to track what elements activate the onset of headaches. Caffeine intake likewise contributes in headaches.

Tylenol, ibuprofen and naproxen may assist lessen the pain of migraine headaches. Prescription medications of the triptan class are first line treatment and work rapidly if provided at the first sign of headache. Other choices include opiates such as hydrocodone and the steroid dexamethasone.

Chronic migraine suffers are typically prescribed medications to avoid the onset of headaches. A range of choices exist and include blood pressure medications, anticonvulsants and antidepressants and anti-nausea medications. Botox has actually been authorized to treat persistent migraine headache headaches and has to be repeated every 3 months.

Brain Tumor

Individuals typically fear that a brain growth is the reason for their headache. Sharp pain can take place on the left side of the head depending upon where the tumor lies. The skull is compact and very little space exists for growth. As soon as a tumor reaches a particular size, the pressure inside the skull will increase and compression of nearby structures takes place. This can lead to head pain and neurologic symptoms such as weakness or trouble moving or speaking.

Treatment of brain tumors is complicated and depends on elements such as size, place and growth type. Specific regions of the brain are more easily accessible to standard medical approaches than others. Radiation treatment utilizes high-energy directed at the tumor to eliminate the cancer cells. Radiosurgery is a more accurate type of radiation therapy utilized to focus on a really little area. Several beams from various instructions are focused straight on the tumor to shrink and eliminate it. Chemotherapy uses powerful anti-cancer drugs to beat the growth. These drugs are injected into veins and can trigger a host of side effects as healthy cells and tissues are damaged together with the cancer cells. Newer targeted drug therapies work to starve cancer cells of important growth substances and cause the cancer cells to die.


A stroke is a vascular disaster in the brain. Analogous to a cardiac arrest, some call stroke a “brain attack”. Blood flow to an area of the brain is obstructed from an embolism. The outcome is that a part of the brain is denied of oxygen and nutrients and passes away. The medical signs include headache, weakness, numbness, slurred speech as well as death in many cases.

There are a number of things that can prevent a stroke from happening. The primary focus is on way of life modification: drop weight, exercise, eat sensibly, limit alcohol to moderation, stop smoking and avoid illicit drugs. Cholesterol and blood pressure need control normally through a mix of prescription medications, diet and workout. Keeping a tight control on blood glucose levels is necessary for diabetics to reduce the danger of stroke. Diets rich in vegetables and fruits can help reduce the threat too. Individuals with sleep apnea require treatment to avoid stroke and other major health issue.

Giant Cell Arteritis

Giant cell arteritis, or temporal arteritis, is a recognized reason for head pain and is often felt on one side in the temple area. The cause is swelling of the lining inside an artery (blood vessel) in the head. Symptoms and signs include sharp head pain, jaw pain when eating, scalp inflammation, low-grade fever and reduced vision. Left without treatment, this condition can advance to total blindness. This condition is more typical in older persons and those of Scandinavian descent.

Medical diagnosis is made based upon symptoms, laboratory tests and a biopsy of the inflamed artery. Corticosteroid medications taken daily by mouth can decrease the inflammation. Treatment is highly successful however steroid use is understood to cause weight gain, mood swings and can lead to weakening of bones. Diet and regular workout are a good strategy to handle the side effects of treatment.

Stress Headache or Tension Headache

Stress headaches are felt by some specialists to be the most typical kind of headache. In truth, around 50 % of adults experience a minimum of one headache every year. Stress headaches are typically the outcome of stress, eye strain, lack of sleep or skipping meals. Teens are affected in addition to adults. Poor posture, incorrect desk and work area setup and muscle tension all contribute to the onset of tension type headaches.

Many describe stress headaches as the feeling of a band around the head or pressure-like sensation. Neck pain and shoulder stress can likewise be a symptom of stress headaches, according to Nausea and throwing up or vision modifications are not part of tension headaches.

Treatment choices, in addition to OTC pain relievers like Tylenol, muscle relaxation training, mediation and yoga along with massage. Physical therapy and workspace assessment for correct ergonomics are valuable for those that experience frequent tension headaches. Home treatments for tension headache include making sure adequate hydration. Some proof exists that diets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids experience less headaches. Good sources of Omega-3 consist of flaxseed oil and coldwater fish.

Cluster Headache

Cluster headaches are felt on one side of the head and frequently are accompanied by tearing and nose congestion. Men are affected four times regularly than women and the headaches take place daily for a duration of a number of days. Attacks recur sporadically. Cluster headaches are believed to be rather genetic and passed down to other family members.

Cluster headaches frequently happen 2 to 3 hours after falling asleep and normally persist around the same time each day. The pain is referred to as burning, sharp, intense and consistent. Intense pain might last two hours or more and can be accompanied by eye redness, runny nose, facial flushing, excessive tearing and puffiness around the eye. Setting off aspects consist of effort, brilliant lights, hot weather, high altitude travel, cigarette smoking and alcohol or substance abuse.

Timeless teaching recommends that breathing 100 % oxygen through a mask eases cluster headaches. It is reasonable to take OTC medications such as ibuprofen, Tylenol and naproxen at the beginning of a cluster headache. Steroids, such as prednisone, can help with inflammation and pain. When used for cluster headaches, a moderate dosage is started and then slowly tapered over the next few weeks. Certain medications work both in the prevention and treatment of headaches. Examples include: blood pressure medications (verapamil, propranolol), cyproheptadine, antidepressants (amitriptyline) and antiseizure medication (topiramate and valporic acid). Narcotic medications are less efficient in treating headaches in general and are known to cause a rebound in pain.

Other Left Side Headache Causes

  • Workout and Sex. Sudden laborious workout and sexual intercourse can set off a headache. The pain might be steady or abrupt in beginning. Some experience severe pain and this is called orgasmic headache. An unexpected beginning severe or worst headache ever must trigger a medical examination. Taking an OTC non-steroidal such as ibuprofen half an hour before sexual intercourse may prevent these kinds of headaches.
  • Hypertension – Much confusion continues on this subject. In reality, high blood pressure does not cause headaches unless the pressure is very high. Many people with hypertension do not even understand they have it.
  • Medication Headache. Overuse of medications results in a vicious circle of pain, taking more medication that leads to more pain. The phenomenon of rebound is well documented and causes a recurring pattern of persistent pain that becomes less and less responsive to medications.
  • Ice Cream Headache. Most of us have actually experienced this at one point in our lives. Rapidly consuming ice cream or something extremely cold can set off a sudden intense headache. Fortunately the pain is generally short in period.

When to See a Doctor

Specific features of a headache must trigger concern. The majority of us have experience a headache at least once in our lives. Headaches that start after the age of 50 must trigger issue. Burst cerebral aneurysms (capillary) are most common in women around the age of 50. An unexpected onset maximal strength headache in persons of this age requires a medical assessment. Headaches that are altering in pattern or frequency or that are becoming gradually worse ought to be gone over with a doctor. Other concerning functions consist of: headaches together with a red eye, headaches that accompany behavior or cognitive changes, headaches together with soreness in the temple area or jaw, and headaches that take place after injury or a blow to the head.


The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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