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A headache is an illness caused by over activity of, or problems within, structures in the head that are sensitive to pain. Knowing headache locations is very important to find out exactly where it is centralized, to help determine the cause and treatment.

Most people have experienced headaches. Head pain and discomfort is a common reason why people are absent from normal daily activities, work and school. Not all kinds of head pain require the attention of a doctor, however they can also mean there might be a more serious problem.

How to Manage the Pain

Let your health care provider know if you experience sudden, severe pain in certain headache locations. Seek out medical assistance if you experience a headache after a blow to the head. Symptoms of a concussion are possible such as dizziness, stiff neck, fever, confusion, loss of consciousness or pain in the eyes or ears.

When your symptoms occur write down the accompanying symptoms, headache locations and any potential triggers. A physician may suggest you to keep a diary to help diagnose the type of pain you are experiencing.

Let’s take a look into where the pain originates:

Headache Locations and Symptoms


Headache chart


Headache locations refer to the different areas of pain in the head. In general, it involves pain felt on the entire head. Sometimes patients describe it as a halo type around the head or a band running around the head. There are some cases where the exact location is difficult to identify.

But, what about the meaning? The following are types of pain by location, using the above headache locations chart. You should find this helpful to see what might be the cause behind them.

Front of the head (Frontal headache location):

  • Tension headache is pressure or a tight sensation. It is felt with mild to moderate pain. There are no specific symptoms associated with this type of pain, however patients claim that they are noise sensitive.
  • Eye strain and pain in one or both eyes.
  • Migraine pain location or cluster, if the pain is one-sided. It is often described as throbbing or pulsing pain, it worsens with physical activity. Nausea and/or vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound, or smell are the associated symptoms of migraine.
  • Sinus headaches, inflammation of the lining of one of the sinus cavities. This can cause a deep, dull, and chronic ache around the eyes, nose, and head. Sensitivity to light.
  • Dehydration headache from a lack of water in the body.
  • Headaches accompanied by stomach, kidney, intestinal and gallbladder ailments. Pain caused by digestive problems is sometimes associated with overindulgence of alcohol, food sensitivities, and food additives.
  • Anxiety causing tightness or pressure pain.

Temporal headache location (or side of the head):

  • Tension headaches are felt here.
  • Ice-pick headache – causes a repeated sharp pain.
  • Cervicogenic headache, pain in the back of the head, stems from the joints at the top of the neck.

Back of the head (Occipital):

  • Cervicogenic headache
  • Tension-type headaches
  • Dehydration headache, occurs at the front, back, one side, or throughout the entire head. Bending the head down or moving it from side to side can worsen the pain.
  • Throbbing headache back of the head

Middle or Top of the head:

  • Cough headache from a possible runny nose or increased congestion.
  • An exertion headache happens during or after a sustained, strenuous exercise. Strenuous physical activities associated with this type of pain are running, rowing, tennis, swimming, and weightlifting.
  • Coital (intercourse), is also called a “sexual headache”. It occurs at the base of the skull before orgasm and during sexual activity.

One side of the head:

  • Migraine
  • Cluster headache

Behind or around the eyes:

  • Cluster headaches
  • Chronic paroxysmal headache, also known as Sjaastad syndrome is unique. It involves a severe throbbing that affects around the eye.
  • SUNCT (Short-lasting, Unilateral, Neuralgiform headache attacks with Conjunctival Injection and Testing) is a primary headache disorder characterized by unilateral pain in the trigeminal nerve distribution and by autonomic manifestations.

Prevention, Treatment and Solutions

There are a number of different triggers that can be the causes of headaches. Keep an accurate list of the possible triggers to help determine where the pain is coming from and the best possible treatment:

Tips for Preventing Pain:

  • Try to take better care of yourself as this can ease the pain and help prevent future occurrences. This can also help reduce intensity and duration.
  • Don’t overuse medication and try not to depend on the medication. Taking medications more than twice a week can increase the severity and frequency. Consult a physician before taking medications as there can be serious side effects.
  • Get adequate sleep and rest. Seven to eight hours of sleep a day is needed.
  • Try not to skip meals. Eat healthy and nutritious meals at the right time. Avoid food or beverages that have a high salt content.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular physical aerobic activity can help improve the physical and mental well-being of a person. Choose activities that are not strenuous and those you enjoy. Take everything at a slower pace to avoid injury.
  • Reduce stress. Try techniques that can help reduce stress such as meditation, yoga, or tai chi. Stress is a common trigger. To prevent one from happening, plan ahead. Simplify your schedule and organize it. Stay positive.
  • Limit caffeine. Although some treatments include caffeine because of its benefits in reducing pain, it can also aggravate one. To prevent caffeine headaches, minimize or eliminate caffeine intake from your daily diet.
  • Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of fluids can help balance your electrolytes. This can help accommodate changes in blood vessel dilation and blood pressure.

Types of Therapy to Try

  • Acupuncture stimulates the acupoints that can ease the pain by stimulating the production of endorphins or the natural painkiller of the body.
  • Chiropractic therapy is a manual technique that adjusts the misalignment of the vertebral column. The misalignment of the vertebral column can cause pressure to the muscles and blood vessels.
  • Hydrotherapy uses cold and hot water to stimulate circulation. Alternating hot and cold shower helps the blood vessels dilate and then constrict. This method can alter the body’s interpretation of pain.
  • Massage can reduce muscle tension throughout the body, including parts of the body that are also headache locations.
  • Relaxation techniques reduces pressure in the body and the level of stress chemicals in the brain.
  • Yoga can help relieve muscle tension in the back of the neck and correct posture.


In order to give proper treatment, a physician using a chart can identify where the pain originates from. Changes in headache location in the body is very important to keep track of. Again, be sure to write down pain characteristics, any associated symptoms, heightened sensitivity, pain triggers, and what works to help alleviate the pain.

Although there is no absolute cure for headaches, there are numerous treatment options to choose from, including both pharmacological and natural home therapies. However, always consult a medical practitioner prior to undergoing any treatment plans for your condition.

Learn More about Head Pain

More about Headaches and What to Do When You Have One


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