Left side head pain is a vague symptom that could lead to a variety of other problems. We look at the most likely causes here.

Is This Cause for Concern?

A headache usually subsides within a few hours and is not cause for concern. Pain that is intense or pain that does not go away might indicate something more serious.

What Causes Head Pain on the Left Side?

Pain or pressure only on the left side of your head could be caused by a variety of things.

Lifestyle Factors

Certain behaviors or lifestyle factors can cause head pain. Over-consumption of alcohol widens blood vessels resulting in a headache among other symptoms. Skipping meals can cause your blood sugar levels to drop, causing a headache. Stress chemicals cause your muscles to tense up and change blood flow, both of which cause headaches. Certain foods can be at fault, especially those containing preservatives. Insomnia is a common cause too.

Infections and Allergies

Infections like colds and flu can cause headaches, as can allergies which affect the sinuses.  These are not serious, but if the pain is intense, you may want to get checked by a doctor in case you have a serious infection like meningitis or encephalitis.

Medication Overuse

Overuse of headache medication can cause additional headaches. These are known as rebound headaches or secondary headaches and can arise from usage of even the most seemingly harmless of over the counter pharmaceuticals like aspirin or ibuprofen.

Neurological Causes

Nerve problems can be the source of your head pain. For example, irritation of the occipital nerves may result in intense, severe, stabbing pain in the back of your head or the base of your skull.

Other Causes

Pain on the left side of your head may also result from something as simple as wearing headgear that is too tight and causes pressure on the brain. Concussions are known to cause headaches. Glaucoma’s increased pressure can also cause severe headaches.

High blood pressure, strokes or brain tumors can be the cause of pain in one side of your head. These are the more serious causes.

When to See Your Doctor

Most headaches are not serious and do not require a medical intervention. However, there are certain signs that mean you should contact a medical practitioner, such as:

  • It feels as if it is the worst headache of your life
  • The headache is making it impossible for you to sleep or it is waking you up
  • You have had a blow to the head
  • There has been a change in pattern and intensity of your headaches.

If your headache is accompanied by confusion, fever, loss of vision or double vision, stiff neck, increased pain when you move, numbness, weakness, eye pain and redness or even loss of consciousness, contact your doctor without hesitation.

Contact a headache doctor at The Head and Neck Centers of Excellence to assess the underlying cause of your left side head pain instead of just treating the symptoms.