Contact us:
040 4016 5703 099 6344 0404
Follow us:

What the location of your headache REALLY means

Stress, spending too long staring at screens and not getting enough sleep are all well-known causes of throbbing headaches.

But did you know the location of your headache can reveal exactly which trigger is to blame?

A sharp pain behind the eyes could be caused by a cold, while throbbing on your forehead could be a sign of screen-fatigue, according to experts.


Staring at a screen or reading in low light can strain the eyes and lead to pain that can be felt across your forehead, according to Dr Nainan.

Putting your phone or laptop down for a screen break can help, she says.

'If it is a tension headache related to eye strain, staring at a screen may just make it worse and some people might need to take regular breaks,' says Dr Nainan. 

'Some people find a cold compress helps and making sure you're using appropriate lighting when on your laptop. 

'For example, when I'm working in a dark room I find my eyes are straining a little bit more when looking at the screen.'

Taking a break in a dark room might also help, as will paracetamol or ibuprofen and a cold compress, says Dr Nainan.

Tension headaches — which can be triggered by stress and anxiety — can also cause pain in the forehead. 

This type of headache usually feels like something is pressing on your head or being tightened around it. 

As well as stress and anxiety, sleeping problems and caffeine are potential triggers, according to the NHS. Most people can continue their daily activities with a tension headache, it says.


Sore temples can be down to a multitude of factors, according to Dr Nainan.

These include tooth ache, tension headaches and migraines.

But pain felt here could also be down to a cluster headache.  

'Cluster headaches, which is the inflammation of the vessels or nerves in that area, will normally only affect one side of the head', says Dr Nainan.

Other, rarer causes could be 'things that lead to blood vessel or nerve inflammation in that area'

'Please speak to a doctor urgently if you have pain here as you will need further advice', Dr Nainan says.

However, nerve inflammation usually triggers other symptoms as well, like fever and changes in vision. In these cases, Dr Nainan urges people to seek medical attention. 

Back of the head

Pain in the back of the head may be caused by tension from your neck or spine.

If you have had a recent car accident, for example, you might have some level of injury or strain in the neck which can cause that area to become painful. 

However, in some cases pain at the back of the head can be caused by something more sinister, such as a blood vessel leak. 

Dr Nainan says those who have a headache that triggers intense pain within five minutes of starting, or is accompanied with a fever, sensitivity to light or changes in vision or balance should seek medical attention.

Right or left side 

A sore head that only affects the one side could be a migraine, says Dr Nainan.

These are often accompanied with sensitivity to light and sound, as well as nausea, she says.

Other symptoms that often occur before a migraine strikes include yawning a lot, craving certain foods and urinating more, according to the NHS. 

Migraines can last anywhere between two hours and three days.

Very rarely, a headache concentrated on one side of the skull can be the sign of a brain tumour, says Dr Nainan. 

But this would typically be accompanied by a range of other symptoms, such as being sick, changes in sight and having a headache that gets worse, according to Cancer Research UK. 

Dr Nainan notes that most headaches are benign and nothing to worry about.

Behind the eyes 

Pain that feels like it's coming from behind the eyes could be a sign of sinusitis, suggests Dr Nainan. 

This is especially common during autumn and winter, when pesky, cold-causing bugs are rife.

The sinuses are small, air-filled cavities located directly behind your cheekbones and forehead. 

Symptoms of sinusitis include a headache, blocked nose, pain in your eyes and forehead and a high temperature, according to the NHS. 

But if this headache is also accompanied by visual changes, seeing double or pain when you move your eye, it could be a sign of a more serious condition, Dr Nainan warns.   

However, headaches can be caused by strains in other parts of the body. 

Dr Nainan said: 'A lot of people get strains, sometimes headaches and facial pain can be referred from other parts of the body. For example the neck.'

She adds that a headache should start to wear off within six hours and if it doesn't ease with pain relief or is getting worse, you should seek medical advice.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a reply