Pain in Right Temple of Head: Causes of Headache in the Right Temple & Treatments

Pain in Right Temple of Head

Headaches that affect your right temple affect many people and are a common source of pain and discomfort. A headache on one side of your head can cause you to feel a wave of nausea, fatigue, or even have vision disturbances. Very often the right temple pain can feel like sharp jabbing stabs behind your eye or it could be like unrelenting pounding aches. Even dull throbs on the right side of your head can affect your daily activities.

Thankfully, the cause of headache pain that only affects your right temple is rarely anything to worry about. Blocked sinuses, anxiety, stress, a lack of sleep are all reasons for feeling like the right side of your head is throbbing. Many people who also suffer from cluster headaches or migraines find that they tend to affect just the right side or left side of their head.

Even though the majority of headaches behind one eye don’t have a serious cause, they can leave you debilitated, frustrated, and in a lot of discomfort.

In this article, I will look at why you may have a headache on the right side of your head. Knowing what kind of headache you have, can sometimes help to avoid situations that can aggravate the headache pain even more. At the end of the article, you will find useful home remedies to treat pain in your right temple.

What is the Right Temple?

Your temples are located on either side of your forehead just behind your eye. Doctors on MedicineNet say that each temple is just above your cheekbone and in front of each ear.1

There are some physical reasons why some types of headaches only affect your temples or cause pain just behind one eye. Dr. Christopher Harris, an expert in maxillofacial surgery, says that important nerves and arteries in the brain run through your temple region.2 If these arteries or nerves become inflamed or irritated, you will feel varying degrees of pain on just one side of your head.

Your temples are the softest part of your skull, and gently pressing on your temples or massaging them can help to relieve headaches naturally.


The right temple

The right temple

Pain on Right Side of Your Head: What Does it Mean?

Having pressure-like aching or stabbing pain behind your right eye usually means that you will experience other symptoms of temple pain.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that headaches affecting one side of your head can cause any of the following symptoms:3

  • Moderate to severe throbbing sensations in your left temple or right temple
  • Head pain that gets worse when you move your head
  • Vision problems like bright lights, blind spots, or seeing zig-zag patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Throbbing head pain that radiates to your neck
  • Runny eyes and a stuffy nose
  • Difficulty getting to sleep
  • Pounding pains behind one eye

Right Temple Pain – Should You Be Worried?

It is only natural to be worried that any kind of headache pain could be a symptom of something more serious.

Doctors from the Cleveland Clinic say that the majority of headaches occur because of nerves or blood vessels sending pain signals to the brain. This is often a result of lifestyle factors like tiredness, skipping meals, stress, or drinking too much alcohol.4 

Usually, if you start having persistent headaches that get progressively worse, you should see a doctor. These types of serious headaches are usually accompanied by other neurological problems like a stiff neck, slurred speech, or personality changes.

Types of Headaches in the Right Temple

Let’s look at the most common types of headaches that trigger pain in your right temple.

Cluster headaches in the right temple

One reason for pain in the right temple of your head is cluster headaches.

Certified neurologist at Michigan State University, Dr. Danette C. Taylor says that pain from a cluster headache is usually severe and occurs in the temple behind one eye. Some people describe cluster headache pain as if someone is drilling through their temple. Cluster headaches usually last between 15 minutes and 3 hours.5

Other symptoms of cluster headaches can include any of the following symptoms:

  • Redness in one eye along with tearing
  • Sweating on the side of the face where the cluster headache occurs
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Persistent temple pain that doesn’t get worse when you move your head

It is not known what causes cluster headaches. However, Dr. Taylor says that the hypothalamus may be involved in the recurrence cycle of cluster headaches.


Migraine pain can feel like throbbing aches that usually affect the right side of your head or left side. Migraines can cause debilitating pain that can cause severe headaches that last for days.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that migraines are usually preceded by warning symptoms called aura. During this time, you might see flashing lights, have tingling in your head, or even some vision loss. As the migraine progresses, extreme pulsating pain on one side of your head will start. This type of head pain can last for up to 72 hours.6

Other symptoms of a migraine can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Increased sensitivity to light or sound

If you are bothered by frequent migraines, please read my article on the top home remedies for migraine relief.

Tension headaches

Tension headaches are one of the most common reasons for a temporal headache that can cause a feeling of pressure in your head.

According to the Journal of Orofacial Pain, temple headaches are often associated with tension headaches. However, tension-type headaches will usually affect your right temples and left temples at the same time. The pain of a tension headache differs from migraine pain or cluster headaches because it doesn’t feel throbbing. In some cases, tension headaches are a reason for chronic headaches.7

Doctors from the National Institutes of Health say that tension headaches are usually caused by tight muscles in the neck, head, face, or scalp. This can be the result of too much stress, lack of sleep, or depression.8

Anxiety headaches

Anxiety can trigger headaches that just affect one of your temples resulting in mild to severe one-sided headache pain.

According to psychiatrist Dr. Smitha Bhandari, anxiety and panic disorder are often linked together. Dr. Bhandari explains that changes in serotonin levels in your brain can lead to anxiety and increased frequency of headaches. This can result in cluster headaches, migraines, or tension headaches.9

Try some of my great natural remedies for stress relief to help reduce the intensity and frequency of anxiety headaches.

Ice pick headaches causing pain in right temple

A sudden sharp, stabbing pain in your right temple could mean that you are experiencing an ice pick headache.

The journal Current Pain and Headache Reports says that brief jabbing pain in one side of the temple area is a classic symptom of ice pick headaches. These headaches, that feel as if someone is prodding the side of your forehead, can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, and lightheadedness.10

Right Temple Headache Pain Caused by Lifestyle Choices

It’s important to note that many times, our lifestyle choices trigger types of headaches that cause pain in the right temple or left temple. Knowing the root cause of one-sided headache pain can also help to prevent head pain affecting our daily lives.

Hunger. The journal BMC Research Notes reported that hunger and skipping meals can account for up to 30% of migraines.11

Stress. Stress can often trigger migraines that cause pain on one side of your head. The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry reported that stress is a recognized cause of migraines. However, in some cases, cluster headaches can also affect migraine sufferers when under emotional stress.12

Lack of physical activity. According to researchers in Germany, a sedentary lifestyle can also be a factor that causes recurring migraines and tension-type headaches. However, there are conflicting reports on the exact link between physical activity and the frequency of headaches.13

Alcohol. Waking up in the morning with a pounding headache is a common symptom of drinking too much alcohol. Researchers from Johns Hopkins reported that alcohol consumption can also trigger migraine attacks in some people. There is also some evidence that darker drinks can cause worse headaches than lighter drinks.14

Smoking. Another lifestyle factor that can result in one-sided headache pain is smoking. A survey in 2018 found that smoking increased an individual’s risk of suffering from a migraine.15

Causes of Secondary Headaches in Right Temple

A secondary headache is a headache caused by another medical or health issue such as sinus infection or flu. Very often, secondary headaches can cause head pain in one temple. Let’s look at the most common causes.

Cold or flu infections

Coming down with the flu or a cold often causes severe headaches that feels like intense pressure in your head.

Doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that headaches are more common in flu symptoms than the cold. You may also have a fever, muscles aches and pains, tiredness, and a runny nose.16

If your temple pain is caused by the flu, you can find helpful remedies to relieve your symptoms in my article about how to recover faster from the flu. A respiratory infection like the cold or the flu often causes blocked sinuses, which are another reason for secondary headaches.

Blocked sinuses

Inflammation of your right sinus can result in a headache on the right side of your head. Sinusitis can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, allergies, or nasal polyps.

Head pain behind one or both of your eyes develops as fluid and mucus builds up and blocks your sinuses. Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler, on eMedicineHealth reports that a sinus headache can cause symptoms similar to migraine pain. Your temples may also become more tender and head pain may intensify when you bend forward.17

Other symptoms of blocked sinuses can include:

Try breathing in eucalyptus oil vapor to help get rid of your symptoms of sinusitis naturally.

Temporal arteritis (giant cell arteritis)

Persistent throbbing pain in one of your temples could be a symptom of temporal arteritis. Your temporal arteries are on either side of your head behind your temples and cause temporal headaches.

Doctors from Harvard Medical School say that inflammation of the temporal arteries can cause a burning pain in your left or right temple. Other people describe the temple pain as a severe constant throbbing pain on the side of the head.18

If you have throbbing temporal headache pain that doesn’t go away and you are over 50, you should see your doctor to get the condition treated.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ, TMD)

Aching pain around your right or left temple along with tenderness of your jaw could be a sign that you have temporomandibular joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint is located where your jaw connects to your skull just in front of your ears.

According to the journal Pain Research and Management, one-sided temple pain is the most common symptoms of TMD. The pain is usually felt on the side of the head where the joint dysfunction occurs. In some people, TMJ can also trigger migraines and the head pain may also cause pain at the back of the neck.19

Neurological Causes of Pain in Right Temple

Inflammation of the nerves at the base of your skull can be a reason for mild to severe head pain that can affect one side of your head or both.

Occipital neuralgia

Sharp head pains that feel like an electric shock in your temple, neck or back could be from inflammation of the occipital nerve in your head.

According to Dr. Danette C. Taylor on MedicineNet, occipital neuralgia causes varying degrees of pain. Sometimes the head pain on one side of your head can feel dull and throbbing, other times, it can be sharp and stabbing. Very often the pain starts from the back of your neck and can radiate to the side of your forehead.20

Other Reasons for Pain in Right Temple of Head – Serious and Not So Serious

Let’s look briefly at some less common reasons for right-sided temple pain.

External compression headaches. Dr. Abouch Krymchantowski on Medscape says that external compression headaches occur when something puts pressure on the forehead or scalp. This is often the case with motorcycle helmets, wearing goggles, or tight hats. The pain doesn’t throb but feels like pressure in your head. Usually, removing the cause of the head pain relieves the headache.21

Nummular headaches. Continuous pain in a small area on one side of your head could be a nummular headache. The journal Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, reports that this type of temporal headache can come and go or be chronic. The pain is usually localized to an area the size of a large coin and doesn’t spread.22

Stroke. Dr. John P. Cuhna on MedicineNet says that symptoms of a stroke can resemble a migraine. A migraine and stroke can feel like a severe headache on one side of the head along with facial numbness. However, the symptoms of a stroke usually come on suddenly rather than gradually.23 If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, it’s important to seek emergency medical help.

Brain tumor. Although most people with severe headaches worry about a brain tumor, Dr. Kaisorn Chaichana from Johns Hopkins’ says that the chances that a headache is caused by a tumor are very rare. If you experience constant headaches accompanied by seizures, eye swelling, or speech impairment, it is best to see your doctor.24

Right-Sided Headache Pain and Neck Pain

Some causes of pain in the right temple of your head actually come from the base of your skull. The two most common types of radiated temple pain are:

  • Cervicogenic headache. Dr. Melinda Ratini on WebMD says that pain from your cervical spine can cause one-sided headaches that can reach as far as your forehead.25
  • Occipital neuralgia. As already mentioned, nerve inflammation in the back of your neck can radiate towards your temples.

Natural Treatments for Pain in Right Temple of Head

Sometimes, all you need to do to get rid of temple headaches is to get more sleep or reduce anxiety. However, there are some effective natural remedies for headaches that can take away the discomfort of pain in your temple.

Essential oils for temple pain relief

Gently massaging some essential oils into your temple can help to quickly get rid of a headache. Some of the best essential oils for headache relief include:

Add a few drops of your favorite pain-relieving essential oil to a tablespoon of sweet almond oil or other carrier oil and massage into your temples.

Other ways to get rid of a temple headache

There are also some other ways to help you relieve pain in your right temple.

  • Take a warm bath to help relax your muscles and let your head pain float away. You can also add a few drops of lavender oil to help get rid of your headache quicker.
  • Apply a cool or warm compress to your temples to help ease pain and headaches. Heat will help to relax tightened muscles in your neck and head. The cold will help to soothe nerve irritation and inflammation.
  • Drink a cup of coffee or tea to relieve a cluster headache or a migraine. Dr. Erica Oberg on MedicineNet says that headaches are often quite responsive to caffeine.26
  • Take pain-relieving medicine. You can also use some natural alternatives to ibuprofen.

Should You Massage Your Right Temple to Relieve Pain?

A study in 2001 found that massaging your temple is a great way to relieve headache pain naturally. Massaging the temples and top of the neck seemed the most effective area to get rid of a headache, with temple massage being the most popular.27

When to See a Doctor

Thankfully, most types of headaches that only affect one side of the forehead are not caused by serious, life-threatening conditions. Even right-sided temple pain that feels sharp and stabbing is often the result of a migraine or lack of sleep.

However, conditions like meningitis, encephalitis, or tumors can cause severe headaches that need prompt medical attention. Dr. Lawrence Newman on WebMD says you should see a doctor for headaches in the following circumstances:28

  • A severe headache comes on suddenly and causes slurred speech or facial numbness.
  • Along with a bad headache, you have a stiff neck, rash, and vomiting.
  • You have a mild to severe headache after trauma to your head or neck.
  • A new headache causes vision disturbances.
  • There is a change to the pattern of headaches that you usually experience.
  • You get more than 3 headaches a week.
  • Pain-relieving medication doesn’t relieve the headache.
  • Headaches interfere with your daily activities.

Article Sources

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  2. Medscape. Scalp anatomy.
  3. MayoClinic. Headaches.
  4. ClevelandClinic. Headaches in adults.
  5. MedicineNet. Cluster headaches symptoms.
  6. MayoClinic. Migraine.
  7. J Orofac Pain. 2012 Spring; 26(2): 83–90.
  8. NCBI. Tension-type
  9. WebMD. Anxiety and headaches: what’s the link?
  10. Curr Pain Headache Rep.2016 May;20(5):30.
  11. BMC Res Notes. 2015; 8: 393.
  12. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2006 Sep; 77(9): 1097–1099.
  13. J Headache Pain. 2011 Apr; 12(2): 147–155.
  14. HopkinsMedicine. Hangover
  15. Cephalalgia. 2018 Jan 1:333102418764888.
  16. CDC. Flu symptoms & complications.
  17. eMedicineHealth. Sinus
  18. HarvardHealth. What’s that constant headache pain in the temples?
  19. Pain Res Manag. 2017; 2017: 3203027.
  20. MedicineNet. Occipital neuralgia symptoms.
  21. MedGenMed. 2004; 6(2): 45.
  22. Expert Rev Neurother.2003 May;3(3):289-92.
  23. MedicineNet. Migraine stroke.
  24. HopkinsMedicine. Headache: could it be a brain tumor?
  25. WebMD. What is a cervicogenic headache?
  26. MedicineNet. 17 natural home remedies for headaches.
  27. Cephalalgia  2001 Sep;21(7):718-26.
  28. WebMD. When to call a doctor about your migraine or headaches.

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