Imagem ilustrativa número 1

Right-sided headache: 6 causes (and what to do)


Right-sided headache is usually caused by blows to the head, ear inflammation, temporomandibular disorders and migraines, but it can also indicate glaucoma and brain tumors in more serious cases.

Depending on its cause, in addition to the headache, other symptoms may also appear, such as difficulty concentrating, nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, fever and pain and/or redness in the eye.

In case of a headache on the right side, it is recommended to consult a neurologist especially if the pain is frequent or other symptoms appear. Treatment depends on its cause and may involve eye drops, medications such as painkillers and antibiotics or surgery, for example.

Main causes

The main causes of right-sided headache are:

1. Blows to the head

Right-sided headache is common after blows to the head on that same side. Although it does not normally cause symptoms other than minor swelling and pain in the area, some people may experience dizziness, difficulty concentrating or sleeping.

What to do: The headache tends to improve within a few days after the blow. However, it is recommended to consult a general practitioner if the headache is intense or persistent, and the use of analgesics such as paracetamol or dipyrone may be indicated to alleviate symptoms.

2. Migraine

Migraines can cause a headache on the right side in some people, and other symptoms such as increased eye sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting are also common.

Furthermore, migraine headaches tend to be recurrent, throbbing and worse when exertion or sudden movements of the head. Know the main symptoms of migraine.

What to do: In case of suspected migraine, it is recommended to consult a neurologist. Treatment is usually carried out with analgesic medications, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, and anticonvulsants, for example, according to the doctor's instructions.

Furthermore, to avoid crises, measures such as practicing physical activity regularly, getting enough sleep and always at the same times, drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding spending long hours without eating are recommended.

3. Acute otitis media

Pain on the right side of the head may arise due to acute otitis media when inflammation affects the right ear. In addition, it is common for other symptoms to appear, such as fever and yellowish discharge coming from the ear. Check out more symptoms of otitis media.

What to do: It is recommended to consult an otorhinolaryngologist if acute otitis media is suspected. Treatment is usually done with medications such as antibiotics, antipyretics and analgesics.

4. Temporomandibular disorder

Temporomandibular disorder is an abnormality in the functioning of the jaw joint that can cause pain on the right side of the head when this is the side of the joint affected.

Pain may appear in the region of the joint, ear and next to the eye, especially when touching the area or moving the jaw. Furthermore, it is common for people to have difficulty opening or closing their mouth. See other symptoms of temporomandibular disorder.

What to do: In case of suspected temporomandibular disorder, it is recommended to consult an orthopedist, and analgesic medications and physiotherapy may be indicated to alleviate symptoms.

In addition, measures such as getting enough rest, regular physical exercise and/or psychotherapy may also be recommended to relieve stress and improve pain.

5. Glaucoma

Glaucoma, when it develops in the right eye, can sometimes cause sudden pain on the right side of the head, especially in the area of ​​the affected eye. It is also common for other symptoms to appear, such as eye redness, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting. Learn the main symptoms of glaucoma.

What to do: It is recommended to consult an ophthalmologist as soon as possible if glaucoma is suspected. Treatment, which may involve eye drops to reduce pressure in the eye and surgery in more severe cases, for example, can prevent vision loss when done at the onset of symptoms.

6. Brain tumor

Although rare, pain on the right side of the head can sometimes also be caused by brain tumors. In this case, other symptoms such as seizures, nausea, vomiting, weakness in parts of the body and temporary loss of vision may also occur. Know the main symptoms of brain tumor.

What to do: When a brain tumor is suspected, it is recommended to consult a neurologist, and imaging tests such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging may be indicated.

When the diagnosis is confirmed, the headache tends to improve with treatment of the tumor, which may involve measures such as surgery and chemotherapy. See the main treatment options for brain tumors.

Which doctor to consult

The best doctor to evaluate right-sided headaches is a neurologist, who can perform a neurological examination and recommend imaging tests, such as MRI, to rule out serious causes of headaches, such as brain tumors.

If you want to make an appointment, you can find the neurologist closest to you using the tool below:

Furthermore, depending on the changes found in the examination, the neurologist may refer the person to other doctors, such as an otorhinolaryngologist, orthopedist or ophthalmologist, to confirm the diagnosis and initiate the most appropriate treatment.