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Headache at Temples: What You Need To Know

A Woman Experiencing Headache at Temples.

Headaches at temples can be a real pain, both figuratively and literally. For many, this discomfort is a familiar sensation that disrupts daily life. In this article, we will explore what a headache at temples is, its causes, symptoms, available treatments, preventive measures, and when it's crucial to seek professional medical advice.

What is a Headache at Temples?

A headache at temples refers to pain or discomfort localized around the temples on either side of the head. This type of headache can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light or sound. Understanding the nature of temple headaches is crucial for effective management.

Types of Headaches at Temples

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches stand out as the most prevalent type, often associated with the stresses of modern life. The pain is typically described as a persistent, dull ache on both sides of the head, radiating from the temples. Rooted in muscle tension, these headaches are influenced by stress, poor posture, jaw clenching, and eyestrain.


Migraines introduce a more complex and intense experience, characterized by throbbing pain accompanied by additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and heightened sensitivity to light and sound. Triggers for migraines are diverse and may include hormonal changes, certain foods or drinks, lack of sleep, and environmental factors.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are distinguished by their intensity and recurrent nature. These headaches, often described as excruciatingly sharp and piercing, cluster in periods of 15 minutes to three hours. Cluster headaches are accompanied by distinctive features such as severe pain around one temple, red and watery eyes, and nasal congestion.

Temporal Arteritis

Temporal arteritis involves inflammation of the temporal arteries, leading to severe pain in the temples. This condition is more common in individuals over the age of 50 and necessitates careful consideration due to its potential impact on vision.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder is linked to issues with the jaw joint. These headaches often result from jaw misalignment, teeth grinding, and arthritis, causing pain around the temples.

Sinus Problems

Sinus headaches are associated with inflammation or congestion in the sinuses, resulting in a constant pressure or aches. Understanding these headaches involves recognizing underlying causes such as sinus infections, allergies, or nasal congestion.

Cervicogenic Headache

Cervicogenic headaches originate from issues in the neck, resulting in pain around the back of the head and neck. These headaches are often triggered by neck movement.


Meningitis is a severe condition involving inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Headaches are a common symptom, accompanied by fever and neck stiffness.

Head Injury

Head injuries can result in various types of headaches, ranging from mild to severe. Concussions, in particular, can lead to persistent headaches.

Brain Tumor

While rare, headaches can be a symptom of a brain tumor. These headaches are often severe and may be accompanied by other neurological symptoms.

What Causes a Headache at Temples?

Several factors contribute to the onset of headaches at temples, and identifying these triggers is crucial for effective management.

  • Tension in the Jaw Muscles: Clenching the jaw due to stress or dental issues can lead to temple headaches.

  • Sinus Congestion: Inflammation or congestion in the sinuses can cause pressure and pain around the temples.

  • Stress and Anxiety: High-stress levels and anxiety can contribute to tension headaches, often felt around the temples.

  • Eye Strain: Prolonged periods of staring at screens or straining the eyes can trigger temple headaches.

  • Certain Foods: Some individuals may experience temple headaches due to specific foods, such as processed meats, chocolate, and aged cheeses.

Understanding these causes is the first step in finding effective relief.

Symptoms of Temple Headaches

Recognizing the symptoms associated with temple headaches is essential for proper intervention and relief. Common symptoms include:

  • Dull, Aching Pain: A persistent, mild to moderate pain around the temples.

  • Pressure or Tightness: Feeling of pressure or tightness on the sides of the head.

  • Sensitivity to Light or Sound: Increased sensitivity to light or sound during a temple headache episode.

  • Nausea or Vomiting: In some cases, temple headaches may be accompanied by nausea or vomiting.

Being aware of these symptoms helps in differentiating temple headaches from other types of headaches.

Treatment for Temple Headaches

Addressing the pain of temple headaches involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments and targeted relief measures.

1. Mindful Meditation and Relaxation Techniques: Incorporate mindfulness meditation into your daily routine to manage stress, a common trigger for temple headaches. Deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation can also be effective in promoting relaxation.

2. Hydration Matters: Dehydration is a known contributor to headaches. Ensure you are drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day. This simple yet powerful habit can make a significant difference.

3. Digital Detox for Eye Strain: If your temple headaches are linked to prolonged screen time, it might be time for a digital detox. Take regular breaks, use the 20-20-20 rule, and ensure your workspace is ergonomically friendly.

4. Pain Relievers and Natural Remedies: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen can provide temporary relief. Additionally, consider natural remedies like peppermint oil applied to the temples for a soothing effect.

For persistent or severe temple headaches, seeking professional medical advice is recommended.

How to Prevent Headache at Temples

Preventive measures play a crucial role in reducing the frequency and intensity of temple headaches:

  • Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity to reduce stress and tension, promoting the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers.

  • Balanced Diet: Maintain a balanced diet and be mindful of potential trigger foods. Some individuals find relief by avoiding certain food additives, like MSG, known to contribute to headaches.

  • Adequate Sleep: Ensure you get enough quality sleep by establishing a consistent sleep routine and creating a conducive sleep environment.

Incorporating these preventive measures into daily life can significantly improve temple headache outcomes.

When to See a Doctor

While many temple headaches can be managed with home remedies, there are situations where seeking professional medical advice is necessary:

  • Severe or Persistent Pain: If temple headaches are severe, recurrent, or don't respond to over-the-counter medications, consulting a doctor is essential.

  • Sudden Onset of Headaches: If you experience a sudden, severe headache, it could be a sign of a more serious medical condition, warranting immediate medical attention.

  • Associated Neurological Symptoms: Symptoms such as visual disturbances, difficulty speaking, or weakness require prompt evaluation by a healthcare professional.

Understanding when to seek medical help ensures that underlying issues are addressed promptly.


In conclusion, temple headaches, while often manageable with home remedies, should be approached with awareness and caution. Recognizing the causes, symptoms, and available treatments empowers individuals to take control of their headache management. Implementing preventive measures and knowing when to seek professional medical advice are crucial steps in ensuring long-term well-being.


1. How common are temple headaches?

  • Temple headaches are relatively common, with various causes contributing to their occurrence.

2. Can stress alone cause temple headaches?

  • Stress is a significant trigger for temple headaches, but other factors may also play a role.

3. Are there specific triggers for temple headaches?

  • Triggers can vary from person to person, but common ones include stress, jaw tension, and sinus issues.

4. Can over-the-counter painkillers help with temple headaches?

  • Over-the-counter painkillers may offer relief for mild temple headaches, but professional advice is recommended for persistent or severe cases.

5. Is there a cure for temple headaches?

  • While there may not be a definitive cure, effective management strategies and treatments can significantly reduce the impact of temple headaches on your life.

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