Pain in Left Temple: Headache or Something Else?

In most cases, pain in the left temple is caused by tension, sinus problems, or stress, the ever-present cause.

I am sure most of you have experienced the stabbing pain in left temple at one point or another.

In rare cases, the pain can be caused by a more severe condition as a stroke or brain tumor.

When we feel dull or stabbing pain in the left temple, most of us reach for remedies for headache.

But it is important to understand where the pain is coming from in order to best treat the condition.

Causes of pain in left temple

pain in left temple

Tension

Tension-induced pain can be caused by lack of sleep, certain foods, poor posture, stress, or muscle tension.

The temporary pain will feel like the pressure is being applied to the temple.

There are no other symptoms, and it can usually be treated with natural remedies and over the counter medicine.

Temporal arteritis

This is one of the serious and severe causes of pain in left temple.

The condition can affect the temporal arteries stemming from the neck’s carotid artery.

While there is no explanation why the arteries become inflamed, one explanation is that it is due to low functioning immune system.

Patients will also experience fever, muscle weakness, sweating, loss of appetite, and fatigue.

The treatment involves steroids.

Sinus pain

Caused by inflamed membranes around the sinus cavity, the pain starts in the left temple, but can radiate towards the cheeks, eyes, and the forehead [1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3973877/.

Similar as tension headache, treatment usually involves over the counter pain relievers and home remedies for sinus pain [2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17300361.

Migraine

The pain can knock a person off his feet.

Physical movement, light, and sounds can make the pain worse.

Treatment is different, but one way is to consume more magnesium rich foods.

Studies have shown people suffering from chronic migraine attacks have low magnesium levels [3]https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160610140645.htm.

Occipital neuralgia

Headaches are caused by damage or injury to the nerves located at the base of the skull [4]https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01753765.

The pain is sharp and stabbing, and felt in the left temple of the head.

The pain is usually accompanied by sensitivity to light and sensitivity to touch.

Rest is the initial treatment, and depending on the severity, a physician will prescribe you a therapy.

Stroke

The initial symptoms of stroke involve sharp pain in the left temple accompanied by numbness in arms [5]https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/migraine-and-stroke#1.

Stroke episodes can vary in severity, and in some cases, they can be fatal.

Brain tumor

This is the thing most people fear when they feel severe pain in the head.

Brain tumor symptoms include vision difficulties, speech difficulties, nausea, vomiting, and changes in behavior patterns.

Giant cell arteritis

Often referred as Horton disease, this condition causes the blood vessels in the left side of the head to become inflamed.

The rare condition can also manifest as stiffness in the neck and shoulders [6]https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/9615/giant-cell-arteritis.

Other symptoms include chewing difficulty, fever, and temple headache.

Doctors have yet to identify a cause for Horton disease.

How to treat it

When you experience a minor or an infrequent headache, you can easily treat it with home remedies.

Do not reach for over-the-counter medicines and painkillers just yet.

Try some home remedies, including some of the following:

  • Place a cold compress to your left temple, usually an affected area
  • Unwind in a hot shower
  • Take a walk in fresh air
  • Rest in a dimly lit room
  • Work through the stress headache with a moderate workout
  • Consume foods rich in protein, vitamins, and fiber
  • Do a light massage on the affected area
  • Take deep and long breaths to fill your lungs with oxygen
  • Consume magnesium rich foods
  • Take a nap
  • Eat something if your blood sugar is low

When to see a doctor

In most cases, pain in the left temple is nothing more than a mild headache.

However, in some cases, it can be a symptom and indication of a serious health condition.

When looking at the pain, look at the accompanying symptoms, as well as the length of time of the pain, gender and age of the patient, and severity of the pain.

If a lasting headache cannot be alleviated by natural remedies or over the counter medications, you should seek medical attention.

If the pain is sudden and excruciating, you should also seek medical attention.

Mild headaches require medical attention and are a cause of concern once you reach 50 years of age.

Lifestyle factors that contribute to headache

As mentioned previously, headache and migraine is the most common cause of pain in the left temple.

There are a couple of lifestyle factors that can contribute to you experiencing a headache.

Here are some:

  • Alcohol, be it beer, wine, or some hard liquor, they all contain a chemical that triggers headaches by widening your blood vessels
  • Stress, as mentioned, is a common cause of headache [7]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25480807. When you are under stress, your body releases chemicals that tense your muscles and change the blood flow of your body
  • There are certain foods that can trigger headaches [8]https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161101103541.htm. Most of these foods contain preservatives, and common trigger foods are aged cheeses, nuts, processed meats, hot dogs, bacon, and red wine
  • Skipping meals is a lifestyle habit you need to eliminate if you want to live a headache-free life. Without a proper meal, your brain does not get glucose and cannot function properly
  • Insomnia or lack of sleep can easily set off headaches that cause the pain[9]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28900887. People with sleep disorders often suffer from headaches as well
  • Overuse of medications, including ibuprofen, aspirin, some prescription pain medications, ergotamine derivatives, and more

Types of headache

One of the most important things to differentiate regarding pain in left temple is what type of headache is.

Depending on the headache, there are different methods for coping with the pain and treating the condition.

  • Tension headache is the most common type, and affects 75% of adults [10]https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/headache-when-to-worry-what-to-do. The pain feels like a band tightening around your head, squeezing your scalp and face. You will feel pressure on both sides and back of your head
  • Cluster headaches are rare, but they are intensely painful. The intense pain is felt only on one side of your head, and the eyes on the affected side might be red and watery
  • Migraine is the third most common illness in the world and affects almost 40 million people in the US [11]http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/. The intense and throbbing pain is often on one side of the head, and the pain is accompanied by nausea, sound and light sensitivity, and vomiting symptoms
  • Chronic headaches can be of any type, and they happen at least 15 days a month for six months period or more
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