7 Explanations for Headache Between Your Eyes

Headaches have medical classifications but most of us describe them based on their locations, symptoms, nature of pain, and triggers. Instead of saying we have migraines, tension-type or cluster headaches, we describe it as a throbbing headache. So, what does it mean to have a headache between your eyes? Read on and find all the answers.

Headache Between Eyes, What Can It Be?

1. Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches have numerous triggers that vary from one person to another. However, each trigger interferes with a certain neurological activity in the body leading to a migraine. Unlike tension headaches, migraine headaches cause pain on one side of the head. Sometimes they affect both sides.

You may experience pain at the back of your head and behind the eyes. Other effects of migraine headaches include nausea, sensitivity to noise and light, and vomiting. Some patients experience a visual aura before migraine headaches. The aura may include blurred vision or seeing light flashes. Migraine headaches persist for a few hours to days and may recur one or two times in a year. Some people may suffer several times in a month.

2. Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are more common in men than women. The real cause is unknown. However, they are often linked to the "biological clock" or circadian rhythm. They are referred to as cluster headaches because of the grouping of attacks and not their location in the head.

Some people experience cluster headaches in episodes every day, which may last for six months. The attacks stop and then recur later. Cluster headaches cause the most intense pain, which occurs suddenly behind and around the eyes, and on one side of the head. The pain worsens and lasts for about 30 minutes to three hours. Cluster headaches sufferers may also experience a running nose, eye swelling, a blocked nose, redness and tearing.

3. Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to increased pressure in the eyes, which is painful and may cause a headache between eyes. Persistent glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which leads to blindness. Although the cause of this condition is unknown, the process of draining the liquid in the eyes is associated with angle-closure and open-angle glaucoma. These result from the increase in pressure in the eyes when the fluid does not drain properly.

4. Blood Vessel Complications

A headache could result from conditions affecting blood vessels or nerves in the eyes. For instance, inflammation of the temporary artery causes temporal or giant cell arteritis. An aneurysm is a condition where a blood vessel's dilation is abnormal. If aneurysm affects the nerves in the skull that serve the eye, the blood vessel exerts pressure on the nerves, which is painful. The enlarged blood vessels may burst. Such a condition requires immediate medical attention.

5. Increased Pressure in the Skull

If pressure in the skull increases, it is likely to cause pain throughout the head or concentrated pain near the eye. Any condition that occupies any space in the skull will increase its pressure and cause a headache between eyes. Hence, conditions such as a brain tumor or an intracranial abscess will increase pressure. A brain tumor results when a cell in the brain grows abnormally. An intracranial abscess refers to a localized infection in any part of the skull.

6. Sinusitis

Acute sinusitis may cause pain behind and around the eye. Acute sinusitis results from an allergic reaction or infection in the paranasal sinuses. Sinusitis leads to congested, swollen, and inflamed tissue lining of the sinuses. The location of the pain varies depending on the affected sinuses. You will experience pain in your cheek below your eyes if maxillary sinuses are affected. For frontal and sphenoid sinuses, the pain is located above and behind the eyes respectively.

7. Traumatic Head Injury

Head injuries lead to many conditions that include increases intracranial pressure from swelling or bleeding and fractures in skull bones. They may cause a headacheand pain behind the eyes. Head injuries are common after falls, injuries from contact sport, assaults, and motor vehicle accidents. Traumatic head injuries require immediate medical attention to rule out any underlying problems.

When to Worry About a Headache

You should see a doctor if you experience any of the following signs:

  • If some activities such as lifting weights, straining, sexual activity, or coughing intensify the headache. Such symptoms indicate an underlying problem in the brain like a stroke.
  • Headaches are related to neurologic problems such as speech problems, numbness or weakness on one side, and impaired vision. These complications may result from a brain tumor or stroke.
  • A sudden headache between eyes, which is a common sign for bleeding in the brain.
  • Your headaches start or change after you are 50 years old. Some conditions such as inflamed blood vessels in the skull worsen with age and may cause headaches. They may also cause sudden changes in headache patterns.
  • Headaches are associated with other conditions such as a stiff neck or any other symptoms. These could be symptoms of meningitis or the Lyme disease.
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