Temple region is located on the sides of the head in alignment with the eyes. The pain located in the right temple region can be caused by various medical conditions. The pain can range from mild, moderate and even severe pain. It can be quite disturbing and unbearable.
Generally, there are primary and secondary headaches, due to their classification based on the place of origin. Primary headaches are the one caused by pain or oversensitivity of the structures of the head, while secondary headaches are the one caused by other medical conditions affecting the human body. In most of the cases headaches originate from the structures of the head. This means, that in 90% of the cases headaches are primary headaches. The brain itself can’t cause any pain, as it has no sensitive receptors. Headaches can affect any part of the head, but in this article we are focusing on the pain localized in the right temple and its most common causes. Some of the most common causes of pain in the right temple include:
Migraines – the headaches caused by migraine are usually accompanied with other signs and symptoms, sometimes starting even couple of days before the real headache starts. These prodromal signs and symptoms, mostly sensory perceptions like blind spots, tingling in the arms and legs, but also flashes of light are called auras. After the prodromal periods, the real headache starts, usually accompanied with nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to sounds and light. Usually, people who suffer from migraine try to find dark and quite places to lie down. This will help ease the signs and symptoms of migraine, especially the headache and sensitivity problems. Treatment for migraine tries to reduce the frequency of the headaches and their severity.
Tension Headaches – are characterized by diffuse pain which varies in intensity from mild to moderate. In tension headaches the pain can be localized in any part of the head, sometimes even in the right temple. The reason of tension headaches is not known, even though it is the most common type of headache. The pain is usually persistent and quite disturbing. Headaches are often accompanied also with nausea. Stress is thought to be the number one trigger of this kind of headache.
Cluster Headaches – are characterized by periods of pain, followed by periods of remission. This cyclical pattern is known as clusters. Cluster headache is usually localized in one side of the head, around the eye, so normally affecting also the right temple. The cluster periods with severe headaches can last from couple of days to couple of weeks, while the remission periods are usually longer. Remission periods when the pain stops, last from couple of months, until couple of years. Cluster periods usually do not last more than 6 weeks. Headaches are also accompanied with other signs and symptoms like pale skin, generally ill feeling, restlessness, drooping eyelid, etc. Cluster headache is the most painful type of the headache.
Trigeminal Neuralgia – is characterized by chronic pain caused by conditions that affect the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is the fifth cranial nerve. The role of the trigeminal nerve is to carry sensation from the face to the brain. It is characterized by episodes of severe pain, which can be triggered also from putting make-up. The episodes in the beginning tend to be mild to moderate, but with the progression of the disease, they tend to be more and more severe, lasting even longer. Women are more affected when compared to men, usually older than the age of 50. The signs and symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia include sudden and severe pain localized in the affected side of the head, which may be felt like an electric shock. The pain is localized in the areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve, like the jaw, cheek, teeth, eye, temple region, lips, gums and forehead. The attacks of pain last from couple of seconds until couple of minutes. Periods characterized by pain attacks, are followed by periods of remission. Remission can last from couple of days, weeks, months or even longer. Usually the pain in trigeminal neuralgia is localized in one side of the head, however, in very rare cases it can be localized in both sides of the head. As mentioned before, pain attacks are triggered by daily routinely things and actions like brushing the teeth, putting make up, speaking, chewing, etc. Treatment consists of various medications like pain-killers, anticonvulsants, antispasmodics, Botox injections, etc. In severe cases surgery is necessary to control the signs and symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia. The goal of the surgical treatment is to stop the blood vessels from compressing the trigeminal nerve.
Temporal Arteritis – is also known as giant cell arteritis. Temporal arteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the arteries in the temporal region of the head. Inflammation of the lining of the arteries causes them to swell. Swelling of the lining of the arteries will impair the blood flow, leading to less oxygen that goes into the brain. Arteries of large or medium size can be affected, but swelling is most noticed in the arteries of the temporal region. The reason why these arteries get inflamed is not known. The signs and symptoms of temporal arteritis include: severe headaches with the pain localized in the temper region, usually persistent, scalp tenderness, high fever, jaw pain, fatigue, generally ill feeling, double vision or even vision loss, weight loss over a short period of time, etc. Treatment of temporal arteritis consists of high doses of corticosteroids. Usually, the treatment with corticosteroids lasts for one or two years, sometimes even longer. Temporal arteritis should be diagnosed on time and especially the treatment should be started immediately in order to prevent vision loss. The right diagnosis is made with biopsy. However, in many cases the treatment is started as soon as this condition is suspected and the diagnosis is made afterwards with the help of the biopsy.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder – this joint connects the jaw with the skull. The cause of temporomandibular joint disorder is not easy to diagnose. It could be caused by grinding of the teeth, clenching of the teeth, jaw injury, arthritis, etc. Signs and symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder include: pain located in the affected side of the head which is localized in the jaw, around the ear and temple region, difficulty chewing or speaking, difficulties while opening or closing the mouth, etc. Temporomandibular joint disorders are also characterized by a clicking sound while moving the jaw. Treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder consists of pain relievers, muscle relaxants, sedatives, tricyclic antidepressants, bite guards, physical therapy, etc. Surgical procedures like arthrocentesis and even a surgical repair or replace of the temporomandibular joint are possible.
Temporal Lobe Tumors – tumors can affect the temporal lobe just like any other part of the brain or the rest of the human body. Tumors located in the right temporal lobe can be primary tumors which start to grow and develop in this part of the brain, but they can also be secondary tumors which start in every other part of the human body but give metastasis in the right temporal lobe. These tumors can be benign or malign in nature. The temporal lobes of the brain are associated with emotion, memory, social behavior, visual object recognition, auditory perception and sensory input storage. If the tumor develops in this part of the brain, its functions mentioned above will be impaired. The signs and symptoms include: headaches, difficulties reading, difficulties recognizing the sound of the music, impaired speech, seizures, deterioration of visual imagination, increased anxiety, etc. Treatment will depend from the type of the tumor, the time when it was diagnosed, it size and localization but also if there are metastasis to other parts of the brain or even other body parts. Treatment for temporal lobe tumors usually consists of surgical removal of the tumor, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Headaches with the localization of the pain in the right temple region can be caused many other medical conditions, which are rare when compared to the causes mentioned above. Some of other cause of pain in the right temple include: inflammation of the sinuses, aneurysms, stroke, clenching of teeth, grinding of teeth, etc.
Even though pain in the right temple can be caused by something not serious, you should keep in mind that it could be caused even by something serious like stroke, meningitis, aneurysms, temporal lobe tumors, etc. The right diagnosis is necessary for the right treatment. Anytime, when you notice pain that has started suddenly, and tends to get worse within a short period of time requires immediate medical evaluation. You should consult your doctor immediately in these cases. Especially, pay attention to other signs and symptoms that can accompany the headache located on the right temple region. Other signs and symptoms that should make you worry include: high fever, a stiff neck, nausea and vomiting, vision problems, breathing problems, walking problems, mental confusion, problems understanding the spoken word, numbness and weakness on one side of the body, paralysis on one side of the body, etc.