Why Does My Head Hurt When I Press On It

Ask your doctor if you should take medicine to prevent migraine headaches, such as:

Allodynia (Sensitivity to Touch)

Migraine headaches cause intense, throbbing head pain. These headaches can also make your nerves incredibly sensitive, and even the slightest touch becomes painful. This is called allodynia, which means “other pain.” Up to about 80% of people with this condition have allodynia during an attack.

Pain is uncomfortable. But it’s meant to be a helpful sensation. It warns your body that you’re injured so you can stop doing whatever caused it and treat it if you need to. Allodynia, though, is pain that doesn’t serve any purpose.

You also can have allodynia if you have a disease that damages your nerves, like diabetes.

Symptoms

There are three kinds of allodynia:

Static allodynia or tactile allodynia is pain from the pressure of something against your skin. It can be painful to put on a shirt, wear glasses, or put your head on a pillow.

Dynamic allodynia is pain that starts when something rubs lightly against your skin. Things like the touch of a person’s hand, running a brush through your hair, or water falling on your head in the shower can trigger it.

Thermal allodynia is pain that comes on in hot or cold temperatures. For instance, breathing in cold air can cause it.

The pain, which ranges from mild to severe, is different for each person.

Causes

Migraine is more than just a headache. It is an overall condition of which the headache is just one symptom. During a migraine, your brain releases chemicals that cause the nerve endings around the brain to send signals to your central nervous system, and that can result in the throbbing head pain you feel.

When those signals keep firing for an hour or so, your nerves become hypersensitive. Even normal signals, like a touch on your scalp or face, can be very painful.

You’re more likely to get allodynia if you:

  • Get visual auras — zigzag lines or flashes of light — with your migraine headaches
  • Have more than 15 headaches a month
  • Have severe migraine headaches
  • Have had migraine headaches for many years
  • Have another pain condition, like irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia
  • Have depression or anxiety
  • Are female
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Smoke

Diagnosis

A neurologist — a doctor who specializes in problems with your brain, spinal cord, and nerves – can help you figure out what’s going on. They’ll ask about your headaches, sensitivity to touch, and other symptoms. You’ll also have a physical exam.

They may suggest one or more of these tests to get more information:

  • Blood tests: Are usually not needed unless something else is suspected
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Are usually not needed unless something else is suspected.

Treatment

You can prevent allodynia by treating migraine symptoms as soon as they start. Some migraine drugs, including triptans, typically don’t work for people who have allodynia. Instead, your doctor may give you a shot of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) called ketorolac or an ergot medication called dihydroergotamine.

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Once your headache goes away, the allodynia usually eases up. But some people still have the pain even after the migraine is gone.

What You Can Do

Ask your doctor if you should take medicine to prevent migraine headaches, such as:

  • Blood pressure drugs like beta-blockers
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-seizure drugs

There are also some devices which can short-circuit the electrical activity in your brain that triggers a migraine and prevent it or halt it:

  • SpringTMS or eNeura sTMS
  • Cefaly
  • gammaCore

Another way to avoid migraines is to have healthy routines. Exercise, get good regular sleep, and practice relaxation techniques like yoga, tai chi, or deep breathing to ease stress.

Fasting and dehydration can both set off migraine headaches. So don’t wait too long between meals, and make sure you drink enough water during the day.

Show Sources

American Migraine Foundation: “Allodynia: When Touch Hurts But Shouldn’t,” “Preventive Treatments.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Headaches and food.”

Current Treatment Options in Neurology: “Allodynia as a complication of migraine: Background and management.”

Headache: “Allodynia in Migraine: Association with Comorbid Pain Conditions.”

Mayo Clinic: “Migraine: Diagnosis,” “Migraine: Overview,” “Migraine: Self-management.”

Pflugers Archiv: “Mechanical allodynia.”

The Migraine Trust: “Chronic migraine.”

Why Does My Head Hurt When I Press On It?

Woman suffering from headache

Various conditions can cause tension, weight, and pressure in the head. The intensity of these sensations varies from mild to severe. Most conditions that cause pressure on the head should not be concerning. The most common are tension headaches, sinus-affecting conditions, and ear infections.

Constant pressure on your forehead and scalp can cause headaches. If you also experience this kind of headache and wonder why does my head hurt when I press on it. Here we will explain to you in detail about this problem.

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The most common type of headache that may occur due to pressing your head is the tension headache.

Tension Headache

Most headaches are tension headaches. They are usually not a severe sign of anything. This headache frequently occurs, especially under stress. But it is excruciating and can be challenging to live with.

These types of headaches can range from 30 minutes to 7 days. If you have a headache lasting for more than 15 days every month for 3 months or longer, you may have a chronic tension headache.

This type of headache can lead to stress and depression, which in turn can lead to more headaches.

Tension headaches occur often. Symptoms can begin in childhood but are more likely to occur in middle age.

Symptoms

  • A constant headache, not a knock. There is usually pain and pressure on both sides of the head.
  • The pressure that your head is in a bag.
  • Pain in the temples and behind the head and neck.
  • If you have a headache on one side of your head, it can be a migraine or cluster headache.

Migraine

If you are experiencing sharp pain on the right side of the head that comes and goes, you may have a migraine.

Migraine headaches are commonly described as throbbing or stinging pain. It mostly occurs on one side and can be severe enough to be disabling.

Symptoms

Migraine headaches are often accompanied by additional symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hypersensitivity to light and sound.
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Migraine is a common type of headache. They first appear in adolescence or early adulthood and usually recur. Migraine headaches often include warning signs and progress at various stages.

Cluster Headache

If you are wondering why does my head hurt every day? Well, it could be due to a cluster headache.

Cluster headaches are excruciating headaches that occur in groups. You experience a cycle of headache attacks, followed by a headache-free period. The frequency of headaches during these cycles varies from once every other day to several times a day. The headache pain in a group can be very severe.

Cluster headaches are most common in adolescence and middle age but can occur at any age. Previous studies have shown that men report cluster headaches more often than women, as in the study.

Ice-Pick Headache

If you are experiencing sharp pain in your head that comes and goes, you may have an ice-pick headache.

These headaches are sudden, severe, and painful headaches. They are often described as a sensation like a series of stabs or stabbing blows from an ice pick. They do not warn before attacking and can be destructive. They are also short, usually less than a minute. Ice headaches can occur at any time during waking or sleeping hours. It also appears several times a day and can move from one place in your head to another.

Paresthesia

If you are experiencing a weird feeling in your head that comes and goes, you may have head paresthesia.

Experiencing weird feelings in the head, like pins or tingling, can make you feel sick. You also feel numbness and a burning sensation. These sensations can also affect adjacent parts of the body, such as the face and neck. Paresthesia can occur when the nerves maintain continuous pressure. When the source of pressure is removed, it often disappears. Nerve-damaging injuries and illnesses can also cause it.

There are various causes for major paresthesia. It can be temporary (acute) or continuous (chronic). If you feel a headache more than average, you should consult a neurologist. It will help you to diagnose any severe issue on time.

Easy Ways to Relieve Headaches

  • Apply a warm compress to the back of the neck
  • Take a hot shower
  • Improves posture to relieve tension in the head, neck, and shoulders
  • A simple nap to help relieve headaches
  • Loosen hair if tied with ponytails, braids, or buns
  • Drink more water to prevent dehydration
  • Take some OTC painkillers like ilosone medication or a multivitamin for women or what some consider the best multivitamin for men

We hope you got the answer to your query: why does my head hurt when I press on it? There are various types of headaches that cause pain. Many have benign causes and disappear spontaneously.

Talk to the doctor if your headache interferes with your daily routine. Only a specialist can identify the cause of your headache and rule out more severe conditions.

FAQS

Why does the top of my head hurt when I touch it?

Tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, etc., can cause the scalp to become irritated, inflamed, and painful. Allodynia can also be the reason—this is when your head becomes sensitive to touch. In other words, your head hurts when you touch it.

Why does my head hurt on the left side?

In most cases, migraine is the cause of head pain on the left side.

Why does the middle of my head hurt?

The middle of your head hurts due to tension headache, in which muscles of your neck and head tightens.

Why does my head feel like it’s going to explode when I bend over?

In the case of dehydration, headaches can increase when you move your body, especially when you walk, bend, or move your head from side to side.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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