Virtual Headache Specialist

Causes of Temple Headaches: A Comprehensive Guide

temple headache causes

Temple headaches are prevalent but often misunderstood. They can be caused by various factors, from stress and lifestyle choices to underlying medical conditions. While temple headaches are usually not life-threatening, they can cause significant discomfort and interfere with daily activities.

Many people have experienced at least one episode of temple headache in their lifetime. The good news is that most episodes resolve within an hour or two without treatment; however, frequent or severe pain should always be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Here, we will provide an overview of the causes of temple headaches. Additionally, we’ll discuss how to recognize when it’s time to seek medical attention for your symptoms so you can make well-informed decisions regarding your healthcare needs.

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temple headache causes

Most Common Causes of Temple Headaches

Let’s see some of the leading causes of temple headaches.

Migraines

These are a type of headaches that can cause pain around your temples. They can hurt a lot and last for a long time. Some people get migraines when they feel stressed or tired or if they eat certain foods. Other times, it is not clear why someone gets them.

The intensity of the pain can vary from person to person, and it is often described as a throbbing, pounding, or pulsating pain. It is accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light or sound, vomiting, and nausea.

While there is no known cause for migraines, genetic and environmental factors are suspected and they may be triggered by stress, certain foods or drinks, hormonal changes, and environmental factors.

Tension headaches

Tension-type headaches are another common cause of temple pain, and the most common type of headache disorder. They most commonly affect the temples and forehead areas.

Tight muscles often cause these types of headaches in the neck and shoulders due to prolonged periods of physical or mental stress.

Symptoms include dull pressure around the temples that worsens during periods of activity or when exposed to bright light.

Sinus issues

Allergies, colds, or infections can cause sinus. Sinus issues can cause temple headaches. It happens when the air or mucus inside your nose gets blocked and causes pressure around the temples. It often happens when you have a cold, allergies, or an infection in your nose and sinuses.

The pain from a sinus headache is usually worse when you bend over or lay down. If you have sinus pain around your temples, you may also have other sinus-related symptoms, such as congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and a stuffy feeling in your ears.

Eyestrain

Prolonged periods of staring at screens (such as computers, phones, and tablets) or reading for extended lengths of time can cause eyestrain, resulting in temple pain.

Symptoms often manifest as tension headaches accompanied by burning sensations behind the eyes. Other symptoms may include tired eyes, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding ( also called bruxism) is prevalent, and many people suffer from it. Teeth grinding can cause temple pain due to the constant pressure on the teeth and jaw.

People grind their teeth for a variety of reasons. It may be due to stress and anxiety, abnormal biting, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, or certain medications. People can also grind their teeth unconsciously in reaction to pain from another medical condition.

Some people even grind their teeth when focusing intensely on something else. Whatever the cause, grinding your teeth can damage them and lead to more severe problems if not treated properly.

Therefore, you must talk to a healthcare professional if you think you are grinding your teeth at night or during the day. Additional symptoms include soreness in the jaw muscles, headaches, earaches, and facial tenderness.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction is a problem in your jaw joint. It can cause you to have headaches around your temples. It happens when your jaw joints, muscles, and nerves don’t work together correctly, which makes it hard to move your mouth or causes pain when you do move it. When this happens, it can lead to temple headaches that are often uncomfortable and painful.

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Cluster Headaches

These are a type of headache that usually causes an intense, burning, stabbing sensation around one eye and temple area.

Cluster headache triggers include season changes, alcohol consumption, stress, and daylight savings time changes. These types of headaches can come in cycles, with episodes lasting for several days or weeks at a time.

Hypertension

Hypertension is when your blood pressure is higher than usual. It could happen because of a medical condition like kidney disease or diabetes, and it can be caused by poor lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol.

Hypertension can cause headaches in the temple area due to the extra pressure on your arteries, which can be painful and can cause your temples to hurt and be painful. The pain might feel like a burning sensation, pressure, or an intense headache around one eye and the temple area.

Other symptoms of hypertension include fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath. If you have hypertension, you must talk to your healthcare provider about ways to lower your blood pressure so the pain in your temples goes away.

Aneurysm

An aneurysm is a weakened and bulging area in the wall of any blood vessel, usually an artery. Aneurysms can form anywhere in the body’s arterial system, but they most commonly occur in the aorta, the main blood vessel responsible for carrying blood away from the heart.

While small aneurysms are generally harmless, if left, large untreated ones can rupture and cause life-threatening internal bleeding.

Aneurysms vary in size, shape, and location; some may be as small as a pea, while others can grow large enough to fill half of the circumference of an artery.

They are more common among older adults and those with underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure or atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Symptoms include sudden and intense headaches, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, and vision problems.

Risk factors for developing an aneurysm include smoking, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, genetic predisposition, and prior trauma to a particular artery.

Brain Tumor

Brain tumors are caused when a group of cells grow abnormally inside the brain. They can be hard to identify, but some symptoms include sudden and intense headaches, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, vision problems, and pain around your temples.

If you or a loved one has any of these symptoms, you must talk to a doctor immediately. Brain tumors can cause temple headaches due to pressure on nearby nerves and tissue.

Final Words

Many different medical conditions can cause temple pain. Talking to a doctor if you are experiencing any temple headaches is essential so they can diagnose the cause and provide the best treatment for your specific condition. Some common causes of temple pain include Migraine, Tension Type Headache, TMJ Dysfunction, Cluster headaches, Hypertension, while uncommon causes include Aneurysms, and Brain Tumors.

Treating the underlying cause of your temple headaches is vital in reducing pain and other symptoms. If you or anyone you know is experiencing any of these conditions, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately.

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Last Updated on January 25, 2023 by Dr. Eric Baron

Dr. Eric Baron

Dr. Eric P. Baron is a staff ABPN (American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology) Board Certified Neurologist and a UCNS (United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties) Diplomat Board Certified in Headache Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute, Center for Neurological Restoration – Headache and Chronic Pain Medicine, in Cleveland, Ohio. He completed his Neurology Residency in 2009 at Cleveland Clinic, where he also served as Chief Neurology Resident. He then completed a Headache Medicine Fellowship in 2010, also at Cleveland Clinic, and has remained on as staff. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. He has been repeatedly recognized as a “Top Doctor” as voted for by his peers in Cleveland Magazine, and has been repeatedly named one of "America's Top Physicians". He is an author of the popular neurology board review book, Comprehensive Review in Clinical Neurology: A Multiple Choice Question Book for the Wards and Boards, 1st and 2nd editions, and has authored many publications across a broad range of migraine and headache related topics. To help patients and health care providers who do not have easy access to a headache specialist referral due to the shortage in the US and globally, he created and manages the Virtual Headache Specialist migraine, headache, and facial pain educational content, blog, and personalized headache and facial pain symptom checker tool. You can follow his neurology, headache, and migraine updates on Twitter @Neuralgroover.