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What are the causes of frontal lobe headaches?

Updated February 21, 2019

Frontal lobe headaches are mild to severe pain in the forehead or temples. The pain corresponds to the location of the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex, but causes are not necessarily related to illnesses or dysfunctions that originate there and are varied.

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Tension headaches

Most headaches are tension headaches, which are often localised in the forehead or in the temples. These headaches are often due to a neurological (i.e., nerve) disturbance as a result of cervical and pericranial muscle activity in the neck and upper spine, poor posture or anxiety. Tension headaches can be triggered by stress, lack of sleep, fatigue or poor nutrition.

Cluster headaches and migraines

Migraines and cluster headaches are both thought to start as neurological dysfunctions that involve a cranial nerve in the brain--the trigeminal nerve--that controls sensation in the face. Both are triggered by multiple factors, including heredity, brain dysfunction, vascular disturbance, medicines (for example, birth control pills and vasodilators), fatigue, exertion, emotional stress, certain foods and alcohol.


Sinusitis is an acute or chronic condition caused by inflammation of the sinuses. Sinus cavities lie behind and connect the mouth, ears, nose and eyes. Infection within the sinus passageways often manifests as pain behind the eyes and the forehead. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or analgesics, such as aspirin, can reduce pain associated with sinusitis. Prescription antibiotics can be used for infections that do not clear in a few days.

Temporal arteritis

Temporal arteritis is caused by inflammation of the artery that is located above the eyes at the temples. Swelling causes the arteries to narrow, reducing blood flow.


Tumours can cause lobe frontal headaches. Tumour pain will not subside over time.


If you experience chronic or recurrent headaches, do not simply treat the symptoms with pain relievers. If you get headaches and take pain medication more than four times a week, seek medical advice for the possible causes.

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About the Author

Jon Williams is a clinical psychologist and freelance writer. He has performed, presented and published research on a variety of psychological and physical health issues.

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