A headache on the left side of the head can be caused by a variety of conditions, including migraine, tension headaches, cluster headaches, and other medical conditions. Migraines are the most common cause of a headache on the left side, affecting 12 percent of people in the United States. Tension headaches are caused by muscle problems such as neck injuries, stress, and tight muscles in the neck and shoulders. Cluster headaches are rarer than migraines and tension headaches, but they tend to occur in a certain location.
The pain from a headache on the left side can come on suddenly or slowly and may feel sharp or dull and throbbing. In some cases, the pain radiates to the neck, teeth, or behind the eyes. If the headache is severe, persistent, or worrying, contact a health care professional. Treatment of tension headache involves alleviating the underlying cause, for example, ibuprofen for inflammation of the neck muscles.
If you have frequent headaches and use medicines, over-the-counter or prescription, or both, for more than 10 to 15 days a month, you may have medication overuse headaches. Sometimes a headache on the left side is not a primary headache but is due to an underlying condition. It is important to note that you should always seek immediate medical help if the headache began after a blow to the head or if the pain feels like the worst headache in history. You can get rid of some types of headache by changing some lifestyle habits such as drinking less alcohol and reducing stress.
Your headache doctor may recommend an anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen to alleviate the underlying cause of a tension headache.