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Sharp Pain in Head – Causes and Treatment

Written by Dr.Mary

A pain in the head that is sharp may be a sign of a condition that is mild or a serious medical problem. There are diverse reasons for headaches located in different areas of the head. For instance, an individual could have a pain that is sharp in the head on the left side, right side, or behind the ear. Another individual could have a pain that is sharp in the head when they cough or when they bend over. There are many causes of headaches that are severe.


Causes of Sharp Pain in Head

The below are key reasons for severe or sharp pain in the head.

Migraine

This is the type headache that is normally on only one side of the head and can be severe to mild. Often the pain is throbbing and so intense that the individual is not able to do any daily activities and will just have to go to bed. This sharp pain in the head also can be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to sound or light, or vomiting. A migraine headache is commonly seen more often in women and they may last for a number of hours as well as in extreme cases for days.

Sinusitis/Sinus infections

The pain in the head that is sharp behind ears or behind eyes can be caused by sinusitis. Amid the varied types of sinusitis, sphenoid sinusitis usually causes pain sharp in the head from behind the eyes while others, such as ethmoid or frontal sinusitis can cause pain behind the eye or ear. Sharp or constant pain in the head when bending down is often seen in those individuals having chronic sinusitis.

Encephalitis

This is an uncommon but lethal disease and is the swelling of the brain caused by a virus. The most commonly recognized symptom is pain that is sharp in the head. Besides the headache, other symptoms or signs are nausea, seizures, convulsions, and vomiting. Encephalitis can result in passing away because of respiratory arrest.

Meningitis

This is caused by meninges – tissues around the brain and the spinal cord – that are inflamed. Meningitis is often fatal and is normally cause by either a viral or bacterial infection. Pain can be sharp in the entire head accompanied by a stiff neck and are the most common signs of meningitis. Also, vomiting, nausea, seizures, sensitivity to light, unconsciousness or loss of appetite can also be seen. At times, together with meningitis, other complications like faster heart rate and gangrene have been seen.

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Brain tumor

Symptoms of a brain tumor can be the sudden onset of sharp and severe pain in the head. As the tumors grow this pain increases and eventually becomes unbearable. Sudden headaches that cause sharp pain with no history of headaches can be an indicator of the possibility of a brain tumor. Other symptoms and signs seen are convulsions, seizures, loss of mental alertness as well as confusion. Brain injury that is traumatic due to any reason may also cause pain that is sharp in the head.

Apart from these major headache causes, severe headaches can be caused by withdrawal, hangover, coital cephalalgia, vascular or spinal problems. Headaches caused by hormonal problems due to changes in hormones are usually experienced in one side of the head. Headaches in the back of the head are normally due to mental tension, stress, improper posture, and depression. It is mostly the kind of pain that is sharp in the head that comes and goes.

Sharp Pain in Head Treatment

An individual needs to find medical attention if the headache is:

  • The “worst headache of your life”. This wording is frequently seen in course books as a sign for medical professionals to contemplate making the diagnosis of a “subarachnoid hemorrhage due to a ruptured cerebral aneurysm”. The extent of pain will usually be considered along with how the individual looks as well as other symptoms and signs.
  • Unlike any previous headaches.
  • Begins abruptly or is intensified by coughing, exertion, sexual activity or bending over.
  • Accompanied by nausea and vomiting that is persistent.
  • Accompanied by stiff neck or fever.
  • Accompanied by seizures.
  • Occurs after a fall or new head trauma.
  • Accompanied with modifications in behavior, speech or vision.
  • Accompanied with variation in sensation or weakness.
  • Is not reacting to management techniques and is becoming worse.
  • Needs in excess of advised dose for pain of OTC (over the counter) medicines.

It is essential to identify which kind of headache an individual is suffering from so that the treatment given is correct. The common categories of headaches include:

  • Tension
  • Cluster
  • Sinus
  • Rebound
  • Migraine

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