Left-sided head pain

Written by megan allyce snider
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Having pain on the left side of your head may be simply the effect of a bad migraine or may indicate more serious conditions, such as a brain tumour or a stroke. If the pain is continuous and interferes with your life for several weeks, seek medical attention. All the conditions involving pain in one region of the head, including brain tumour or stroke, can be treated if detected early enough.

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Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital Neuralgia is a unique type of headache consisting of throbbing, jabbing, piercing or electrical shock-like pain confined to one side of the head. These headaches are chronic and usually begin in the neck, travelling upwards towards the head. You may experience pain behind the eyes, scalp or forehead, along with pain in one side of the head. Your scalp may become tender and your eyes may become sensitive to light. Pain in the back of the head is caused by irritation or injury to the nerves, pinching or compression of the nerves, brain tumours or lesions or trauma to the head.

Migraine

A migraine may occur on the left side of the head around the temples. Migraines typically begin on one side of the head. From this point on they may stay localised (on one side of the head) or spread across the whole head region. Migraines involve throbbing, pulsating and pounding pain and may last from four to up to 72 hours. Migraines may be habitual and may need to be treated with medicine to prevent them or to reduce the accompanying pain.

Brain Tumor

Brain tumours may cause pain on the left side of the head, depending on the size and location of the tumour. There is no extra room in the skull; it only houses brain tissue and fluid. A tumour located on the left side that is metastasising will grow until it touches the skull, causing pain and intracranial pressure. As the tumour continues to expand after touching the skull, it will be forced to bear down on the brain, causing left-sided pain.

Stroke

A stroke occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off and brain cells begin to die. Strokes can damage any part of the brain, including the left side. Some stroke victims describe the feeling of an intense migraine on one or both sides of the head during a stroke. Damage and pain centred on the left hemisphere of the brain will cause possible paralysis and damage on the right side of the body, whereas damage on the right side of the brain will impair the left side of the body. Patients also experience head and body pain limited to one side after the stroke, including tingling and prickly sensations.

Conclusion

Don't let serious pain interfere with your life or progress into a much worse condition. Have an open dialogue with your doctor and, if needed, undergo tests and scans that will help get to the root of your problem. There are treatments available for whatever condition you may have. The longer you let your condition linger without treatment, the more out of control it can become and it may end with a serious, even fatal outcome.

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