Left-Sided Head Pain


Having pain on the left side of your head may be simply the effect of a bad migraine or may indicate more serious conditions, such as a brain tumor or a stroke. If the pain is continuous and interferes with your life for several weeks, seek medical attention. All the conditions involving pain in one region of the head, including brain tumor or stroke, can be treated if detected early enough.

Man with pain in left side of head
Man with pain in left side of head (Image: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital Neuralgia is a unique type of headache consisting of throbbing, jabbing, piercing or electrical shock-like pain confined to one side of the head. These headaches are chronic and usually begin in the neck, traveling upwards towards the head. You may experience pain behind the eyes, scalp or forehead, along with pain in one side of the head. Your scalp may become tender and your eyes may become sensitive to light. Pain in the back of the head is caused by irritation or injury to the nerves, pinching or compression of the nerves, brain tumors or lesions or trauma to the head.

Woman with neck pain
Woman with neck pain (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)


A migraine may occur on the left side of the head around the temples. Migraines typically begin on one side of the head. From this point on they may stay localized (on one side of the head) or spread across the whole head region. Migraines involve throbbing, pulsating and pounding pain and may last from four to up to 72 hours. Migraines may be habitual and may need to be treated with medicine to prevent them or to reduce the accompanying pain.

Woman in bed with head pain
Woman in bed with head pain (Image: Tom Le Goff/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Brain Tumor

Brain tumors may cause pain on the left side of the head, depending on the size and location of the tumor. There is no extra room in the skull; it only houses brain tissue and fluid. A tumor located on the left side that is metastasizing will grow until it touches the skull, causing pain and intracranial pressure. As the tumor continues to expand after touching the skull, it will be forced to bear down on the brain, causing left-sided pain.

Doctor looking at brain scan
Doctor looking at brain scan (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)


A stroke occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off and brain cells begin to die. Strokes can damage any part of the brain, including the left side. Some stroke victims describe the feeling of an intense migraine on one or both sides of the head during a stroke. Damage and pain centered on the left hemisphere of the brain will cause possible paralysis and damage on the right side of the body, whereas damage on the right side of the brain will impair the left side of the body. Patients also experience head and body pain limited to one side after the stroke, including tingling and prickly sensations.

Doctor with elderly patient
Doctor with elderly patient (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)


Don’t let serious pain interfere with your life or progress into a much worse condition. Have an open dialogue with your doctor and, if needed, undergo tests and scans that will help get to the root of your problem. There are treatments available for whatever condition you may have. The longer you let your condition linger without treatment, the more out of control it can become and it may end with a serious, even fatal outcome.

INjured soccer player
INjured soccer player (Image: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

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