What A Headache On One Side Of Your Body Really Means

Headaches can be one of the most baffling and frustrating health issues. While some have obvious causes, like dehydration or a bump on the head, many come on for seemingly no reason at all. And what about headaches that occur on only one side? Do they mean anything, or require any different kind of treatment?

According to Harvard Health Publishing, there are about 300 distinct types of headaches, and only about 10 percent of them have identifiable causes. Most of them are nothing to worry about, and can be treated at home with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Migraines are one of the most common types of headaches that cause pain on just one side of the head, according to Medical News Today. These are severe headaches that are often accompanied by symptoms like light or noise sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, or blurred vision. There can be many triggers for migraines and it's important for people who suffer from them to identify them so they can be managed. Treating a migraine early is important to getting relief and curbing the strength of the headache. If over-the-counter medications do not work for treating your migraines, you may need to speak with your doctor.

If you get them regularly, speak with your doctor

Another type of headache that causes one-sided pain are cluster headaches. Five times more common among men than women, these headaches come on in multiples, with as many as eight headaches per day over a one-to-three-month period. Cluster headaches can cause a droop in the eye on the affected side, a runny nose, and severe pain. A person with a cluster headache often paces or moves restlessly in an effort to relieve the pain.

Prescription medications are the best line of defense against cluster headaches, so if you begin to experience them, speak with your doctor right away.

There are several other types of one-sided headaches, called hemicrania continua headaches, paroxysmal hemicrania headaches, and short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headaches with donjunctival injection and tearing (via Cleveland Clinic). These can last from a few minutes to 24 hours and can produce a runny nose, sharp pain, and in some cases teary eyes. In order to diagnose these or any other type of one-sided pain, a consult with a doctor is necessary, so if you experience headaches regularly, speak with your medical provider as soon as you can.