What causes pain on the right side of the head? Pain on the right side of the head is a sign of what? Is it normal for a right headache to hit the eye? If it doesn’t go away, should I see a doctor? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
What does it mean to have pain on the right side of the head?
Pain on the right side of the head and sometimes hitting the eye is a problem experienced by most people. Pain on the right side of the head may be accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and visual disturbances.
Related article: What you need to know about headaches
Almost 50 percent of adults report headaches each year, making it one of the most common health complaints.
Read on to learn about the causes of pain on the right side of the head and to learn more about remedies to help manage the pain.
What causes pain on the right side of the head?
Here are the causes of headache on the right side, item by item:
1- Neurological problems
Various problems in the brain can cause unilateral pain. The following neurological conditions may be responsible for the problem of pain on the right side of the head :
- Occipital neuralgia:
This occurs when the nerves that run from the top of the spinal cord to the scalp are damaged or inflamed. Symptoms include sharp pain in the back of the head and neck, shooting pain in the eye , and sensitivity to light.
- Temporal arteritis:
The arteries in the head and neck become inflamed with temporal arteritis. It causes severe headache along with muscle pain. Other symptoms include fatigue, jaw pain, and tender temples.
- Trigeminal neuralgia:
This causes intense pain in the face and head. Pain usually only affects one side at a time. It is caused by disruption of the trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain.
Related article: What is trigeminal neuralgia?
2- Drug use
Headaches can occur as a side effect of prescription or over-the-counter medications. In rare cases, these drugs can even cause a stabbing pain on the right side of the head . Also, headaches can be caused by overuse of medications , including over-the-counter pain relievers such as :
This type of headache is called a rebound headache . According to the World Health Organization, it is the most common type of secondary headache disease. A secondary headache is a headache caused by another condition.
Headaches from drug overuse are usually at their worst upon waking.
3- Other reasons
Other causes for pain on the right side of the head may include pain in the entire head or only on one side. These include:
- head injury
- Sinus infections
- Other infections
- Fluctuations in blood sugar levels caused by missing meals
- Muscle strains or knots in the neck
What types of headaches occur on the right side?
There are more than 300 types of headaches, about 90 percent of which have no known cause. However, a migraine or cluster headache is the most likely cause of pain on the right side of the head, and sometimes this pain in the eye . Tension-type headaches can also cause pain on only one side in some people.
Here are the types of headaches that can affect the right side, substance by substance:
Migraine can manifest itself in various ways and affects each person differently. Migraines can sometimes affect only one side of the head – for example , it can be felt as a stabbing pain on the right side of the head . Genetics are thought to play a role in migraine headaches that cause a pulsating or throbbing headache. A heavy heartbeat or throbbing often accompanies migraine. Other symptoms include:
- blurred vision
- light sensitivity
- sensitivity to sound
One-third of people who have migraines experience visual disturbances or temporary vision loss before the onset of pain. Symptoms can last up to 72 hours if left untreated. The pain typically affects only one side of the head, and pain may occur on the right side of the head, and the pain may even pierce the eye.
The following factors can trigger migraine:
- bright lights
- Air changes (humidity, temperature, pressure)
- Emotional stress or anxiety
- Food and drinks such as alcohol, chocolate, cheese, and cured meats
- Hormonal changes in women
- Loud voice
- skip meals
- strong odors
- Too much or too little sleep
Early treatment is key to reducing the length and severity of symptoms. Treatments include over-the-counter or prescription medications. Prevention includes avoiding triggers and using preventative medications in some cases.
2- Cluster headaches
Cluster headaches are rare but severe headaches that occur in cyclical patterns. The pain is intense and usually located around one eye. It can also spread to the neck and shoulders, as well as to other areas of the head and face.
People often experience frequent headache attacks (clusters) for weeks or months before a period of remission. This type of headache can also present as pain on the right side of the head .
Other symptoms of cluster headaches include:
- facial sweating
- pale or reddened skin
- red or watery eyes
- stuffy nose or runny nose
- Swelling around the affected eye
Men tend to experience cluster headaches more often than women. The exact cause is unknown, but smoking, alcohol use, and a family history of cluster headaches may increase the risk.
Although treatments can reduce the number and severity of cluster headaches, there is no definitive cure for this condition.
3- Tension headaches
The most common type of headache, occurring in 75 percent of people, is tension-type headaches. It usually affects both sides of the head, but some people may have symptoms on only one side , causing a feeling of pain on the right side of the head . Also, some people who experience tension-type headaches also report experiencing a sharp pain on the right side of the head, although this is rare.
Symptoms of tension-type pain include:
- Dull and aching pain
- Scalp tenderness
- Sensitive or tight shoulder and neck muscles
- A feeling of pressure in the forehead, on the sides or back of the head
Symptoms usually last a few minutes to several hours and are mild to moderate.
Occasional tension headaches can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers or home remedies. People who suffer from frequent tension headaches may need to change their lifestyle, identify and avoid triggers, or take prescription medications.
Does pain on the right side of the head require a doctor’s control?
Many cases of headaches resolve on their own without any intervention. People who regularly experience pain on the right side of the head should contact their doctor to determine the underlying cause.
Anyone experiencing the following symptoms alongside a headache should seek medical attention:
- vision changes
- Confusion, confusion
- head injury
- increased pain during movement
- stiff neck
- Personality or cognitive changes
- Sleeping disorders
- speech disorder
People with headaches that are very severe or that get progressively worse should also see a doctor.
How does the pain in the right side of the head go?
Many headaches, including right-sided headaches, can be treated quickly and successfully at home by trying the following:
- applying a warm or cold compress to the back of the neck
- avoiding headache-inducing foods, including alcohol and caffeine
- Drinking lots of water to relieve dehydration
- loosening tight hairstyles like ponytails and braids
- Massaging tight muscles in the neck and shoulders
- Avoiding bright or flashing lights, loud noises
- Taking a hot bath or shower
- Taking breaks from screens, including computers, tablets, and television
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers but avoiding their overuse as they can trigger rebound headaches
- Doing breathing exercises to relieve pain, stress, and anxiety
- Aromatherapy for tension headaches, using essential oils such as eucalyptus, lavender, or peppermint oils
As a result
Pain on the right side of the head and other headaches is a common health complaint that affects most people, at least occasionally.
Most headaches are nothing to worry about. Usually, symptoms resolve within minutes or hours and can be alleviated with over-the-counter medications, lifestyle changes, and home remedies.
You should see a doctor if headaches are severe, persistent, or get progressively worse. Even if the cause of the pain is a migraine or cluster headache, many treatments are available to manage symptoms and reduce the frequency of headaches.
We hope we have given enough information about the problem of pain on the right side of the head .