At some point in your life, you will most likely experience a pain in your temple. People who experience headaches frequently are extremely familiar with having a sharp pain in the temple. When the headache is just minor, some over-the-counter painkillers can quickly remove the nuisance. Drinking water and taking a short rest may be all it takes to treat your headache.
When your headache is severe, you need to go to the doctor. A severe headache could be a sign of a problem like a stroke, blood clot or a tumor. Even if it is just caused by a migraine, it is important to go to your doctor to make sure that your symptoms are not a sign of a more serious problem.
What Are the Causes of a Sharp Pain in Temple?
One of the most common causes of a sharp pain in your temple is a migraine. Often appearing as a one-sided headache, a migraine can cause so much pain that you feel like vomiting or feel nauseous. Unfortunately, a migraine can be caused by many things, so figuring out the exact cause and eliminating it is not always easy. Your migraine could be caused by a specific food, hormonal fluctuations, alcohol consumption or anxiety. Often, the pain will build up over the course of about an hour before it reaches its peak. Some people see auras around lights or experience other symptoms before a migraine starts.
2. Cluster Headaches
Another common cause of sharp pain in your temple is a cluster headache. This type of headache will tend to reoccur over several weeks and affects one side of your head. This excruciating pain can be felt behind your eyes and can cause side effects like a runny nose. If you have a cluster headache, you may experience every day for up to 10 weeks. Often, there will be a remission period of up to a year before the headache returns as bad as ever.
3. Tension Headaches
Tension headaches can also cause a sharp pain in the temple or the general head area. They can be uncomfortable and are generally caused by muscle tightness. When the neck and scalp muscles are tense from working on the computer or other activities, you can end up with a tension headache. This headache may make it hard to sleep and feel like a dull pain.
Other Potential Causes
Headaches are the most common reason to experience sharp pain in your temples, but there are other potential causes. If you grind your teeth at night, it can cause localized pain as well. Any type of sinus problem like a sinus infection or sinus inflammation can also cause temple pain. A stroke can be another potential cause.
1. Hemicrania Continua
A craniotomy is a type of surgery where the skull is opened up. During the procedure, a portion of the temporal bone is lifted before it is screwed back on. If you have recently had this type of surgery, it could cause sharp pain for up to three months.
2. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
There is a hinge near the front of your ear that connects your skull and your lower jaw. If this hinge-like connection is structured wrong, it can cause you to develop TMJ. This medical condition can cause symptoms like problems opening your mouth, stiff jaw muscles, pain while chewing or neck pain. Headaches may occur that cause pain to radiate around this area of the head.
3. Trigeminal Neuralgia
This chronic medical condition causes intermittent, shooting pain in your head. It happens when blood vessels apply pressure on a nerve the the brain stem. Over the course of time, the myelin sheath wears down and causes symptoms to develop like severe, stabbing pain.
4. Temporal Lobe Tumors
If you have a brain tumor, you may experience a headache. The pain in your temple may feel worse in the morning and start improving over the course of the day. You may even feel nauseous or vomit when the pain is at its worst. Often, the pain feels like a dull ache.
5. Temporal Arthritis
This type of arthritis occurs when your blood vessels are not working properly. The blood vessels that are supposed to bring blood to your head are inflamed or damaged. Because of this, your neck and temporal arteries are affected. When you experience temporal arthritis, you may experience symptoms like a loss of appetite, muscle aches, vision problems, excessive sweating, a throbbing headache or a persistent fever.
6. Numular Headache
This type of headache tends to affect people who are 50 years old or older. When this condition occurs, it is because an artery has become inflamed. The artery on your temple may feel tender when you touch it and the scalp may also feel tender. When you have numular headaches, you may lose your appetite or feel unwell. If you have this condition, you need to get appropriate medical treatment right away. The blood supply that goes to your eyes can be affected by this condition, so it can result in you losing some or all of your vision if it is left untreated.
When Should You Go to the Doctor?
In many cases, a simple headache can be treated with pain relievers, fluids and bed rest. There are also many home remedies that may be able to help alleviate the pain until your headache goes away. There are some indications that your headache needs professional medical treatment. If you first start to experiencing these headaches after the age of 50, you should go to the doctor. If you have tenderness near your temples or painful, inflamed eyes, go to your doctor.
When the pain feels worse when you cough or move, you should seek medical treatment. Any headache that occurs with visual disturbances, seizures, weakness, stiff neck, numbness or slurred speech requires immediate medical care. If you experience any changes in your personality or mental function, go to the doctor immediately. Likewise, patients who have a history of cancer or a poor immune system should seek medical treatment if they experience sharp pain in their temple.