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Forehead headache: 10 causes (and what to do)


Forehead headaches are usually caused by excess stress, anxiety and/or tension. However, it can also be a sign of migraine, sinusitis, vision changes or high blood pressure, which require specific treatment.

In the case of tension and stress, a headache in the forehead can improve with simple measures such as rest and the use of calming teas such as passionflower, chamomile or valerian tea, for example. Check out other natural tranquilizers to relax and relieve tension.

Whenever the headache causes concern or lasts more than 3 days without any sign of improvement, it is important to consult a general practitioner or go to the hospital, to try to identify the exact cause and start the most appropriate treatment.

What could be your forehead headache

To find out what may be causing your forehead headache, please answer the following questions:

This test is just a tool that serves as a form of guidance and, therefore, should not replace consultation with a general practitioner.

10 causes of forehead headache

The main causes of forehead headache are:

1. Excessive stress and anxiety

Excess stress and anxiety can increase the production of cortisol and adrenaline, hormones that stimulate contractions in the neck and shoulder muscles, causing a type of headache known as tension headache.

This type of headache can be confused with a migraine because it causes a feeling of intense pressure around the forehead, but is not accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, throbbing or sensitivity to light, which are more common with migraines.

What to do: This headache usually improves with rest and relaxation, so a good option may be to drink calming teas, such as chamomile, passionflower or valerian tea. However, if the pain does not improve, painkillers such as paracetamol or aspirin, prescribed by a doctor, can also be used. See more details on what to do to relieve tension headaches.

Don’t ignore your symptoms!

2. Eye fatigue

Eye fatigue is one of the most common causes of forehead headaches, especially headaches that seem to rest on the eyes in the form of pressure or heaviness.

This type of headache is more common after spending a long time doing tasks that require a lot of attention, such as reading or using the computer, as well as after periods of great stress or after sitting with poor posture. Furthermore, eye fatigue can also be due to vision problems such as myopia or astigmatism.

What to do: The best way to avoid this type of headache is to take regular breaks from tasks that require more attention. However, if the headache has already appeared, it is important to rest with your eyes closed and stretch your neck, for example. If the pain is very frequent or does not improve, it may indicate a vision problem and it is recommended that you consult an ophthalmologist.

3. Migraine

Migraine causes symptoms such as a strong, constant and pulsing headache that can only occur on the right or left side and radiate to the forehead and back of the neck, lasting for around 3 hours, but in more severe cases it can last for 72 hours. In addition, symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision and sensitivity to light and noise, sensitivity to smells and difficulty concentrating may also occur.

What to do: If the migraine is constant, it is recommended that the person go to the emergency room so that an evaluation can be carried out and the best treatment can be indicated. In most cases, the treatment for migraine recommended by your doctor involves the use of medicines such as Zomig (zolmitriptan) or Enxak, for example, which help to relieve pain.

If the migraine is accompanied by intense nausea and vomiting, it may be necessary to take metoclopramide or droperidol, which relieve these symptoms. Understand how migraine treatment is carried out.

4. Cold and flu

The flu and cold are situations in which a person may feel pain in the forehead, which happens due to inflammation of the nasal passages, resulting in pain. Headache in the forehead in case of flu and cold is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as a feeling of general malaise, runny nose, cough and weakness, for example. Know how to recognize flu symptoms.

What to do: In these cases, it is important to rest, and the use of analgesics, such as Paracetamol, may also be recommended to help relieve pain and discomfort more quickly.

5. Sinusitis

Headache in the forehead area is also common in case of sinusitis, due to inflammation of the nasal sinuses. In this case, it is common for the headache to be accompanied by a feeling of heaviness around the eyes, as well as other typical symptoms of sinusitis, such as runny nose, stuffy nose, low fever and excessive tiredness. Know how to recognize the symptoms of sinusitis.

This type of cause is more common during the winter, due to colds and flu, but it can also happen in the spring, especially in people who have frequent allergies.

What to do: A good way to relieve the headache caused by sinusitis is to wash your nose with saline solution, to empty the sinuses and relieve inflammation, and apply warm compresses to your face. However, anyone who suffers from frequent sinusitis should also consult a doctor to identify the cause and start treatment with a specific remedy.

6. Cluster headache

Although it is a much rarer cause, cluster headaches can also cause very intense and sudden pain in the forehead area, which can even end up extending around the head, as if it were a ribbon. This type of headache can last several minutes or several hours and usually lasts for several days, possibly having more than 1 episode per day.

The specific causes of cluster headaches are not yet known, but there is usually more than one affected person in the family. See more about cluster headaches.

What to do: Typically, cluster headaches can only be relieved with the use of medication, such as sumatriptan, which is why it is recommended to consult a general practitioner or neurologist.

7. Tension headache

Tension headaches are usually caused by stiffness in the muscles of the neck, back and scalp, which can be caused by factors such as poor posture, stress, anxiety or tiredness. Generally, symptoms associated with tension headaches are pressure in the head, pain affecting the sides of the head and forehead, and excessive sensitivity in the shoulders, neck and scalp.

What to do: To alleviate this type of pain, the person should try to relax by giving a scalp massage or taking a warm, relaxing bath. In some cases, psychotherapy, behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques can also help prevent tension headaches.

However, if the headache does not improve, it may be necessary to take painkillers or anti-inflammatories such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin, for example. See how to relieve tension headaches.

8. Arteries temporal

This type of arteritis, also known as giant cell arteritis, causes inflammation of the external arteries that carry blood to the brain. These arteries pass in the temple region and, therefore, can cause a headache that is felt mainly in the forehead.

The pain from temporal arteritis tends to be intense and appears recurrently, being accompanied by other symptoms such as pain that worsens when chewing or speaking, difficulty seeing correctly and excessive tiredness, being more common in people over 50 years of age and black people. Learn more about temporal arteritis.

What to do: As it is a recurring problem, temporal arteritis should be evaluated by a neurologist or an angiologist, so that a treatment plan can be initiated to prevent its frequent occurrence. Typically, treatment includes the use of corticosteroids to alleviate symptoms.

9. High blood pressure

When there is a change in blood pressure, especially when it is high, due to stress, tiredness, worries or not having taken the antihypertensive drugs prescribed by the doctor, you may feel a headache in the forehead, like a feeling of heaviness or pressure.

Generally, the pain starts in the back of the neck and spreads throughout the head, becoming more intense in the forehead. High blood pressure can also cause other symptoms, such as blurred vision, dizziness and palpitations. Know the other symptoms of high blood pressure.

What to do: It is very important to measure your blood pressure and take the medicine recommended by your doctor so that your blood pressure returns to normal levels. Furthermore, doing relaxing activities, controlling stress and eating a healthy diet are also very important for controlling hypertension.

10. After epidural anesthesia

Headache after epidural anesthesia may appear a few hours or days after administration of the anesthetic and may disappear spontaneously within 2 weeks. The headache usually affects the forehead and the back of the head, and can also extend to the neck and shoulders.

What to do: Forehead headache after epidural anesthesia usually disappears after a few weeks. However, it is recommended to drink plenty of fluids to help relieve your headache more quickly. Learn more about treating headache after anesthesia.