Headache behind the eyes is very discomforting and could be alarming if the cause is not identified at early stages and treated accordingly. Headaches are regular, but when they interfere with everyday activities, headaches behind the eyes can also induce discomfort in the eyes. This article will discuss the major causes, symptoms, and treatments.
What is a Headache Behind the Eyes?
Headache behind the eyes is severe pain behind the left and right eye and in the head, and it could be a specific type of headache. Headache in the back of the left and right eye may last from a few hours to even days. It is also called sinusitis; sinus inflammation causes pain and pressure behind your eyes and tenderness in the front of your face.
If you know the cause of the headache between the eyes, you can treat it at home. In addition, if the doctor successfully diagnoses the reason behind the right eye pain and headache, he can provide you with the most effective treatment.
Causes of Headache Behind the Eyes
Causes of headaches behind the eyes include several reasons, such as dehydration, bad posture, changing menstrual cycle, and maybe poor sleep. Taking painkillers over a long period, such as ten days (about one and a half weeks) or more, can cause headaches. Your body gets used to the medicine. So, when you stop consuming more, you automatically develop severe Pain.
Significant causes of headaches include Migraines, Cluster Headaches, Tension Headaches, and Sinus Headaches, discussed below.
A migraine headache can cause extreme Pain behind the eyes or one side of the head. Migraine occurs more in females than in males. This condition affects 12% of people in the USA, of which 17% are women and 6% are men. A migraine episode typically lasts about 4–72 hours (about three days). A person may need to rest until the symptoms vanish entirely.
Symptoms It may include nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to sound and light, dizziness, numbness, or a tingling sensation in the head, face, or other body parts; however, it varies from patient to patient.
Patients should be hydrated and avoid certain foods and artificial sweeteners that could trigger migraines. Doctors may recommend aspirin and ibuprofen, or they may recommend beta-blockers. Moreover, for individuals with heightened light sensitivity, exploring migraine glasses, specially designed to filter out harmful wavelengths of light, can be helpful.
Tension headaches usually occur when we take the stress and our neck or scalp muscles contract. A tension headache is not as severe as the other three headaches. The minimum time for a headache could be 30 minutes, but it could also exceed to few hours or even days.
Some people get tension headaches regularly. If you have headaches that are not going away for three consecutive months, and you have Pain more than fifteen times a month, then you have chronic type headaches. It would help if you were serious about it and got checked by a doctor.
Symptoms may include mild headaches, pressure across the forehead, muscular Pain, especially in the neck region, and ache on both sides of the eyes. Tension headaches are treated with aspirin, ibuprofen, and sodium naproxen. If it’s frequent, then migraines and beta blockers are the best options.
Cluster headaches are in cyclic periods and arise around the eye or head. About 1% of people in the U.S. experience cluster headaches. When these headaches occur, they tend to appear in several episodes for 4–12 weeks (about three months), and then patients will not witness any headaches between eyes for several years. They often affect the same side each time they arise.
Symptoms It may include Pain along with redness and itching in the eye. Restlessness and excessive tearing are also common. Severe Pain arises, and it usually lasts for 30–60 minutes. Then less intense Pain may continue for up to 3 hours. Headache treatments include Triptan (reduces the severity and duration of headaches), Steroids (reduces Pain), and melatonin. Nerve blocks are also injected to relieve Pain.
Sinus headaches may feel like an infection in the sinuses (air-filled space in the skull behind the forehead, nasal bones. It is caused by inflammation or congestion in the sinus.
Symptoms may include Pain and pressure in the back of the eyes, running nose, fatigue, fever, a reduced sense of smell, green or yellow mucus from the nose, toothache, bad breath, etc. In young children, signs of sinusitis may also include continuous irritability, difficulty feeding, and direct breathing through their mouth. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, decongestants, and nasal corticosteroids are prescribed to patients. In case of allergies, antihistamines or allergy shots that cause headaches may be helpful.
Risk Factors for Headache Behind Eyes:
The risk factors of headaches in the back of the eyes increase in smokers and alcohol consumers. Similarly, a headache that won’t go away is biased towards a particular gender or age and may run in some specific families.
- Gender: Gender matters a lot. Men are more likely to have cluster headaches than Females.
- Smoking: The headache rate in Smokers is much larger than in non-smokers.
- Drinking Alcohol: Alcohol use is an excellent risk of headaches.
- Family history: Headaches run in someone’s Family. So, family history is also a significant factor.
- Age: Most people develop headaches at the age of 20 to 50. Although, this is not a fixed age.
Triggers of Headaches Behind Eyes
Sensitivities may differ from person to person. However, many claim that certain things they eat or drink trigger headaches behind the eyes that don’t go away. Some noted below include:
- Nitrate-rich foods, such as cured meats, hot dogs, leafy greens, radishes, turnips, etc., can trigger Pain.
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is an additive. It is a flavors enhancer often found in processed foods like canned vegetables, restaurant foods, and artificial sweeteners. These things make the food tasty and appealing, but their side effects cannot be ignored.
- Tyramine sensitivities may differ for different individuals. Tyramine, a chemical found in fermented foods, aged cheeses, and fresh-baked bread, triggers headaches by facilitating a chain reaction that results in selective cerebral vasoconstriction followed by cranial vessel dilation.
- Phenylethylamine is an amino acid found in chocolate, nuts, citrus fruits, soy foods, and vinegar. Phenylethylamine crosses the blood-brain barrier and thus could mediate cerebrovascular disturbances in headaches.
- Alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer should be avoided.
- Dairy products and ice cream also cause headaches in the eyes.
- Coffee consumption should be lowered because of its caffeine, which does not suit patients.
- Tomatoes, onions, and other vegetables are also not recommended.
- Histamine-containing foods like alcohol and dried fruits etc.
- Gluten triggers immune cells to release antibodies to attack substances that are foreign to the body. This protein is found in wheat.
- Foods themselves might not be the problem for some researchers. When people have food cravings and are hungry, they may suffer headaches.
- Variations in food temperatures could also be a reason. Eating or drinking something too hot or cold may trigger a migraine attack. So, we should be careful about our food temperatures.
- Hormonal changes in women are a significant cause of headaches. During menstrual periods, pregnancy, and menopause, estrogen level fluctuates significantly. It seems to trigger headaches in many women.
How to Relieve Headaches Behind the Eyes:
If you have a headache and your eyes hurt a lot, then treatments may include
Headache behind the eyes is relieved by certain medicines;
OTC medicines are present in every other drug store, helping relieve headaches in the back of the eyes. They may include pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen.
- OTC pain relievers
- Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitors
- Muscle relaxants such as Carisoprodol , Chlorzoxazone, Cyclobenzaprine, Metaxalone.
- It’s important not to stop taking any medicines unless your doctor advises you to stop using them; however, if you think your headaches are caused by overdosage of medication, you must visit a doctor.
Home Remedies for Headache:
Although medications become necessary for more chronic pains, several remedies may prevent headaches around the eyes. These include:
- Applying a Cold compress, such as a cold cloth or ice, on the affected area reduces Pain.
- Applying a hot compress such as a warm towel or heating pad helps increased blood flow and relax muscles.
- Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce Pain associated with headaches.
- Massaging of essential oils in affected areas.
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises help prevent stress and headaches.
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Headaches:
Most of the time, lifestyle changes help prevent or even treat the Pain behind the eyes. Waking up with a headache behind the eyes can be reduced by:
- Taking enough sleep
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
- Eat healthily and avoid food that triggers your Pain. Some people can’t eat cheese or oil snacks.
- Managing stress and making proper daily schedules to prevent hurried situations.
- Setting medium lights in your environment, especially your room, could be a better idea to avoid sudden Pain in your eyes.
- Immediate loud Sounds could trigger a headache. It would help if you avoided those areas.
Diet and Nutrition:
Recent studies and research show that your diet is vital in managing right and left eye pain and headache. Bringing healthy changes in your diet helps you stay fit and reduces the episodes of your throbbing head.
Magnesium is very good for pain relief. Magnesium-rich food includes dark leafy greens, avocadoes, tuna, etc.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Omega 3 Fatty acids are perfect for managing headaches. Fish is very rich in fatty acids. Others are mackerel and salmon, seeds and legumes, etc.
A keto diet helps to reduce Pain. It is high in fat, has adequate protein, and is low in carbohydrates. Seafood, eggs, meat, animal proteins, and vegetables are ketogenic. Some patients get allergic by consuming many ketogenic foods, so every individual should consult their dietitian before taking food.
Consuming approximately 3 liters a day by each individual is necessary. Certain Teas like green teas, feverfew tea, peppermint tea, ginger tea, and smoothies help you avoid frequent pains.
When To Consult a Doctor?
When the Pain behind your eyes is not going away and becomes unbearable, you must not ignore that and talk to a doctor. If some Injury causes headaches, consult a doctor as soon as possible. If the headaches around your eyes significantly impact your eyesight or your vision gets blurred, it is recommended to consult an eye specialist.
FAQs About Pain Behind Eyes Answered By Your Doctors Online Team
Headaches behind our eyes could cause Migraines, Tension Headaches, Cluster Headaches, and Sinus Headaches.
Sometimes headaches are temporary, and by taking some painkillers, we feel better, but if we have other symptoms, we must take them seriously and visit a doctor immediately.
Dehydration is a significant cause of headaches. When dehydrated, our brain and other body tissues shrink, causing pressure on nerves and causes severe Pain.
Going to bed with untreated Migraine is a real issue, as when you wake up in the morning, your headache may have worsened and becomes difficult to control.