Headache Above Left Eye
Any symptom should not be taken lightly and consultation with a physician is mandatory for diagnosis. This article is a precise attempt to deliver knowledge about the various causes of a headache behind the left eye which is then followed by drug therapies and home remedies to cure the pain.
Headaches In Relation To Left Eye
A headache simply refers to any pain that is experienced in the head region. While a headache above left eye can affect one or both sides of the head simultaneously, this discussion particularly targets unilateral left-sided headache that is present above or behind the left eye.
Pain is basically a sensation that arises from any tissue that is injured, inflamed or irritated. Unilateral left-sided headache, therefore,e arises when muscles, nerves or tissue in that area suffer physiological dysfunction or injury. There are three types of a headache that can be experienced by an individual:
A Primary Headache:
This arises when the pathology is inside the head or tissues of the brain. Examples include a migraine and cluster headaches.
A Secondary Headache:
This kind of pain is referred to the head from an injured issue that is not in the close vicinity such as a blocked sinus that can manifest as a headache behind the left eye.
This arises when the pathology is limited to the cranial nerves and the pain is felt along the path of the nerves. The example includes trigeminal neuralgia.
Defining The Causes
While the etiology of most headaches is not clearly defined and they seem to be idiopathic, unilateral left-sided headache behind or above the eye can be caused by one of the following reasons.
A Tension Headache:
This is the most common cause of unilateral pain behind or above the left eye. Tension headaches usually originate in the back of the head and progress to involve the whole left side. Stress is the main igniting factor of a tension headache which causes muscle spasm in the temple area thus manifesting as pain behind the left eye.
Migraines are unilateral headaches with no known etiology. Throbbing pain behind the eye is a hallmark feature of a migraine which is then followed by the visual aura and unilateral numbness on the face. A migraine is usually triggered by stress, hunger and lack of sleep.
A Cluster Headache:
With no identified cause, cluster headache usually occurs in groups and affects a certain area of the head with pain radiating behind the eye. Facial involvement is a characteristic feature of a cluster headache that includes drooping eyelids, watery ocular discharge, stuffy nose and pain around the eye.
An Exertion Headache:
A Left-sided headache can also be triggered by excessive physical activity and the pain is referred to the left eye as well. The duration of such a headache is small and it resolves spontaneously without any therapeutic intervention.
Blocked sinuses promote the buildup of mucus secretions that remain stagnant and become prone to infection. Anatomically, sinuses are present right below the orbital cavity. In case of a left-sided infection, pressure builds up in the sinus that manifests as pain around the left eye. A sinus headache is also felt on the forehead and is accompanied by a runny nose, congestion, and cough.
Reading in dim light, excessive exposure to computer screens, lack of sleep and long drives strain the ocular muscles which may result in pain around the eye followed by a headache. Such headache is often referred to as ocular headache and is accompanied by drooping eyelids. Taking a break from strenuous ocular activities is enough to relieve such headache.
This is a condition that causes unilateral pain in the head that is triggered by mundane stimuli like cold wind or chewing food. It happens when the nerve fibers of fifth cranial nerve become trapped in their way or are injured. The resulting pain is shooting in nature and referred to the back of the left eye if the left trigeminal root is damaged.
Head or facial trauma can manifest as unilateral headache that is also referred above or behind the left eye.
The buildup of pressure in the anterior chamber of the left eye manifests as a headache along with severe pain in the left eye. It is also accompanied by nausea, vomiting, visual auras, blurred vision and ultimately blindness.
Giant Cell Arteritis:
It’s an autoimmune disease that results in inflammation of arteries in the head and neck region. As a result, pain occurs in the area around the temple and left eye.
Space-occupying lesions in the brain like tumors can cause a chronic headache with radiation towards the left eye. A brain tumor may produce other symptoms like seizures, coordination issues, speech problem and visual disability.
Infection in the head and neck region like meningitis and encephalitis can manifest as a headache and unilateral eye pain. The pain is secondary to inflammation, nerve injury or tissue damage.
Distension of an artery in the head region can press on the surrounding structures, resulting in a headache and pain around the left eye. Double vision, blindness, stiff neck, and tinnitus are other common complains that may follow rupture of an aneurysm.
Headaches that occur above or behind the left eye usually start as a dull throb and the character of the pain gradually intensifies until it turns into incessant squeezing pain like someone is stabbing or poking in the eye. Such headache may be accompanied by difficulty in concentrating, lack of focus, sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, vomiting, flashing lights, congested nasal cavity and unilateral eye discharge.
Pharmacological therapy is the first-line strategy for any kind of a headache.
Potent painkillers are available in many over-the-counter formulas. Most of the headaches completely recover from this treatment alone and no further intervention is needed. In case of resistance to oral drugs, intravenous formulations are also available. Some potent drugs include diclofenac, ibuprofen, aspirin, paracetamol and mefenamic acid.
Unilateral migraines are more responsive to this class of drugs. Sumatriptan is the most widely used agent.
Citalopram and escitalopram are a widely popular headache therapy for resistant cases.
Drugs like tizanidine are excellent in relieving the tension headache. By relaxing and reducing the tone of the muscles, they prevent spasm and cure the pain.
For unilateral headaches that are because of tumor or trigeminal neuralgia, corrective surgery is the last resort of cure.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
Many headaches have a psychological cause and they’re resistant to all conventional medications. In such cases, CBT and biofeedback have emerged as the latest approach to cure this menace.
Home Remedies To Cure A Headache
Application of cool strips or ice packs on the affected eye or temple can reduce pressure and relieve pain. When used in conjunction with analgesics, it improves the potency of the drug. Cool compresses can be done thrice a day or as frequently as the need arises. It is the most effective remedy that’s proven to have no harmful effects.
Rubbing the painful area with firm fingers help relax the muscles and release tension. A good massage is sometimes the only remedy that is required to relieve the excruciating pain.
Getting at least eight hours of nighttime sleep is essential to keep the body functioning properly. Sleep is the best way to relax muscles and reduce the intensity of headaches and eye pain. In fact, many incidences of a headache have been traced back to poor sleeping patterns.
Use of lavender oil is beneficial to relieve pain that is caused by a migraine. A few drops can be massaged on the affected part of the head and left eye for instant relief. Besides, the soothing fragrance calms the nerves and reduces pain stimuli. This remedy can even be used with sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or avocado oil.
Oils that are extracted from natural herbs like basil, chamomile, clove, and ginger are loaded with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. They reduce the irritation of the nerve endings and provide relief in minutes.
St John’s Wort:
This is a natural herb that reduces stress and hence prevents the occurrence of tension and exertion headaches.
Dietary modification is sometimes the only therapy that’s required to cure a headache and pain behind the eye. Limiting the intake of caffeine and drinking eight glasses of water daily maintains the electrolyte balance of the body and prevents acute exacerbations. Processed food and sugary items should be avoided. Alcohol intake should be kept below two pints per day. Some individuals are prone to develop a migraine with red wine and dark chocolate. Consumption of all such items should be kept minimal.
A headache above the left eye is a common complaint that’s mostly caused by minute physiological dysfunction. Consultation with a physician is the best way to rule out serious complications. Cure of a headache is conveniently available, all courtesy of the many medications and home remedies that are easily accessible.