You know the feeling. You’re sitting at work, doing what needs to be done, and suddenly your left temple is throbbing. You reach for the pain medication, knowing it will be at least 20 minutes until you get relief – assuming the medication works.
Headaches are never fun, and the best policy is avoidance. It can be difficult to know exactly how to avoid headaches, especially in our computer-intense and exercise deprived world. Today, we’ll look at how to prevent a specific kind of headache, the left-sided headache.
Why Do Left-Sided Headaches Occur?
As with any painful symptom, it’s important to know what may be causing the headache so that treatment and prevention can be planned. There are several causes of left-sided headaches.
Migraines are a result of abnormal blood-flow in one part of the brain, which can then cause intense pain in that area. Sounds, diet, stress, and alcohol are some of the causes of migraines. Migraines are often accompanied by sensitivity to light, nausea, and other symptoms.
These left-sided headaches can occur many days in a row. They are more common in smokers, and can also be triggered by weather changes. A tendency for cluster headaches is often inherited, so if family members struggle with left-side headaches, this may be the cause.
When the linings of sinus cavities become irritated, they will become inflamed and begin to cause aching in the head and face. Sinus headaches can be caused by respiratory conditions, seasonal allergies, or exposure to cigarette smoke. A sinus headache can be distinguished from a migraine because it will not be accompanied by the additional migraine symptoms.
A less-frequent cause of left-sided headaches is aneurysms, which are quite dangerous. An aneurysm is a swollen blood vessel in the brain, and can be congenital or occur as a result of very high blood pressure. If you suffer frequent left-side headaches during physical exertion, be sure to see a doctor to rule out this cause.
How Can Left-Sided Headaches be Prevented or Treated?
How a headache should be prevented or treated depends on the cause. Sometimes, as in the case of migraines or sinus headaches, you will not be able to completely prevent left-sided headaches. Other times, simply removing a few irritating factors can prevent or reduce headaches significantly.
Migraines are difficult to prevent but can be somewhat dampened by medication. Often, there is additional medicine that can be taken when a migraine occurs to reduce the pain. Removing environmental triggers by changing diet, reducing stress, and controlling light and sound can go a long way toward preventing these headaches.
Treating Sinus or Cluster Headaches
Sinus and cluster headaches can be prevented by limiting exposure to environmental factors such as cigarette smoke. In addition, allergy medication may be able to prevent left-side headaches associated with seasonal changes.
Controlling blood pressure is the best way to prevent an aneurysm. If you suspect that you have one, however, see a doctor immediately. Pain related to an aneurysm can indicate that the vein is about to burst, which can be fatal.
Headaches can be prevented and treated effectively much of the time. Once you identify the cause of your left-side headache, you will be in an excellent position to choose prevention and treatment methods.