Location of Headache - is a clue to Diagnosis

The different locations of headache are listed or linked from this page.

Each page will contain a list based upon a review of published cases, which reported pain in these various locations.  These lists should be comprehensive.

There are some generalisations about each location, but there is a lot of overlap - for example migraine or cluster headache can appear in many different parts of the head - not just the forehead.

Location of Headache Lists

Back of the Head

This is most often pain referred from the upper spine and is called cervicogenic headache.

Pain in the Temple

Most often this would be tension-type headache, but if one sided, migraine and cervicogenic headache can appear here.

Pain in Both Temples

A pressure feeling in both temples is usually tensio-type headache.  A severe dull pressure in both temples that is completely relieved by lying flat and then returns within a minute of standing could be a low pressure headache.

Unilateral Headache (meaning a one-sided headache)

Any of the headache conditions can present with a one-sided headache.  The word 'Migraine' is derived from "hemi" and "Crain" literally meaning "half" and "head".

Pain in the Eye

The most common eye pain I would see is a sudden sharp, brief, neuralgic pain called ice-pick headache which is a completely innocent and benign headache complaint.  Eye disease must be considered if the eye goes red or is sore to touch.

Pain Behind the Ear

While diseases of the ear can cause pain behind the ear, pain from the neck is a very common cause.

Top of the Head

Pain from the cervical spine can appear as pain on top of the head, but there is a long list of other causes, many of which are treatable.  I've listed 34 causes.

Face Pain

Here's a list of possible causes of facial pain:

Migraine will involve the face in about 40% of cases at some time, and this would be the leading neurological cause.

Trigeminal neuralgia is an extremely intense shooting pain in the face, usually the jaw or cheek - it usually responds very well to Carbamazepine tablets.

Some people with cluster headache report a lot of pain into the face, as well as being focussed around the eye.

Chronic unexplained facial pain is fairly common and difficult to treat.

Other causes of increasing facial pain include acute maxillary sinus infection - the pain of this usually follows a recent cold, and there is a discharge from the nose.

Stooping forward often makes maxillary sinus pain worse (which is true for most sinus infections) and the teeth of the upper part of the mouth are tender and sore too.

Here's a more complete list of described causes of facial pain:

  1. Trigeminal Neuralgia
  2. Atypical Facial Pain
  3. Painful Trigeminal Neuropathy
  4. Facial Migraine (40% of people with migraine will report pain in the face)
  5. Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalalgia
  6. Sluders Lower Facial Migraine
  7. Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia
  8. Sinus Disease
  9. Dental Disease
  10. Carotid Dissection
  11. Carotidynia
  12. Extracephalic Ice-pick Pains
  13. Thalamic Infarction - centrally generated pain
  14. Cluster Headache
  15. Exercise-induced migraine
  16. Chronic Paroxysmal Hemicrania
  17. Hemicrania Continua
  18. SUNCT
  19. Nervus Intermedius Neuralgia
  20. Cervicogenic Headache
  21. Post Herpetic Neuralgia
  22. Zoster Sine Herpete (shingles without a rash)
  23. Eagles Syndrome
  24. Temporo-mandibular Joint Disease
  25. Myofascial Pain Syndrome

If you are having problems with severe headaches go from this page on location of headache to the home page and read about 6 steps you can take for severe headaches.