What Can Cause a Headache at the Front of Your Head?

Fact checked by Olga Sadouskaya, MD
Clinical Pharmacologist, Chief Medical Officer

Headaches are a fairly common medical problem, and the vast majority of individuals will experience at least once throughout the course of their life.

There are many different kinds of headaches, but the one most people get is called a tension headache. Despite the fact that most of them aren’t harmful, certain forms of headaches may be an indicator of a significant underlying problem.

What is a forehead headache?

A headache in the frontal lobe of the head is not in and of itself a disease, and it usually doesn’t originate from the region of the brain where it hurts. Some people describe this kind of headache as a vice or belt tightening around the skull.

There are moments when the pain is very intense. It’s possible that some parts of your body, such as the muscles in your head, scalp, and shoulders, may feel tender.

A headache in the frontal lobe, unlike a migraine headache, usually does not cause nausea or any other associated symptoms.

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What types of headaches can cause pain in the middle of your forehead?

Pain at the front of the head, right in the middle of your forehead, is a common symptom of each of the four different kinds of headaches described below.

Tension headaches

Most people will experience tension headaches at some point in their lives. The following are signs of a tension headache:

  • A dull but constant pain all over the head
  • Tenderness in the region of the head, scalp, face, neck, and shoulders
  • A feeling of tightness or pressure akin to that caused by the tightening of a belt
  • A widely varying intensity

Tension headaches can last from an average of 30 minutes to several hours but may linger for days. Tension headaches are often brought on by emotional or mental strain, such as stress, worry, or sadness. However, fatigue, poor posture, or musculoskeletal neck issues may also play a role.

Many people find that using an over-the-counter painkiller, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin, helps ease the discomfort of a tension headache.

A woman experiencing a frontal lobe headache

Eyestrain headaches

Frontal headaches are one possible symptom of eyestrain. Even while a headache from eyestrain might seem like a tension headache, the real culprit is often poor vision or astigmatism in one or both eyes that hasn’t been properly addressed.

Many factors may lead to eyestrain, including the following:

  • Reading or using a computer for long periods of time
  • Poor posture, exacerbated by sitting for long periods of time
  • Stress

People who experience frequent forehead headaches from eyestrain should make an appointment with an ophthalmologist. Glasses or contact lenses may be necessary if poor vision is to blame.

Cluster headaches

They are rare, but cluster headaches can cause excruciating suffering. Pain is localized to one side of the head, usually in the eye, temple, or forehead. These headaches often start suddenly and continue for a few hours.

It’s possible to get many of these headaches in a single day.

Cluster headaches can come with additional symptoms, such as

  • A stuffy nose
  • Irritability or restlessness
  • Watery, puffy, or red eyes

Cluster headaches can last for weeks or months at a time. Most people experience them in cycles of four to 12 weeks. Cluster headaches have a mysterious origin and may be genetic.

Attacks may be triggered by a variety of factors, including alcohol use, tobacco use, and exposure to pungent chemicals.

Sinus headaches

Inflammation in the sinuses, often known as sinusitis, may be brought on by an infection or an allergic response. A headache at the front of the head and soreness in the forehead, cheeks, and eyes are common symptoms of a sinus infection.

These headaches are characterized by the following features:

  • Dull or throbbing pain
  • Pain that gets worse when you move your head
  • Blocked nose or nasal discharge
  • Toothache
  • Fever

Sinusitis is common after a cold or flu and normally goes away on its own. To alleviate congestion, you can try cleansing your nasal passages with a saltwater solution or inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water.

Causes of a headache at the front of your head

There are a variety of potential causes of headaches in the frontal lobe. Stress is the most common precipitating factor. It seems that some types of headaches may run in families. Therefore, there may be a hereditary component. The following may also lead to a headache at the front of your head:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Pain in the jaw or neck
  • Sinus infection
  • Eyestrain from long screen time
  • Insomnia or sleeping disorders
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Certain smells
  • Grinding teeth
  • Bright flashing lights
  • Loud music or voices
  • Fatigue
  • Weather
  • Poor posture while sleeping
  • Stress

How to prevent a frontal lobe headache

A healthy lifestyle may help avoid headaches in the middle of the forehead or lessen their severity and frequency. Try the following tips for relief.

Follow a regular sleep schedule

Make an effort to go to bed and get up at the same time every day and fight the temptation to sleep in on weekends. This will help you get the necessary amount of sleep.

Most people need at least seven hours of sleep every night.

Prioritize frequent physical activity

Exercising on a regular basis, preferably several times per week, may help reduce stress and improve physical fitness.

Practice good posture

If posture is to blame for your headaches, you may find relief by sitting up straight and ensuring that your lower back is supported.

Take frequent breaks from sitting at your desk and gazing at screens and avoid being in the same position for an extended period of time.

Moderate your caffeine intake

Moderate your caffeine use. While consuming too much caffeine may lead to headaches, abruptly stopping caffeine consumption can also have this effect. This is especially true if you’ve been consuming a lot of caffeine on a regular basis.

Stay hydrated

You can help prevent headaches caused by dehydration by drinking a lot of water and making an effort to maintain your water intake throughout the day.

A man taking a pain relief medication to treat forehead headache

Use painkillers appropriately

Avoiding the abuse of painkillers helps prevent headaches. Taking painkillers 10 or more days per month can bring on headaches.

A physician can provide guidance on preventive treatment strategies.

Keep track of your symptoms

A headache diary might be useful for tracking the frequency and causes of your headaches. A doctor will want to know the following for an appropriate diagnosis:

  • How long you’ve been experiencing headaches in your frontal lobe
  • What kind of pain you’ve been experiencing there
  • Where the pain is felt
  • How intense it is
  • What pain relievers you’ve been using for it and if they work
  • Whether there are certain things you do or places you go that bring on the pain
  • If there are certain things you can pin down as triggers
  • How headaches affect your daily life — do they cause you to skip work, miss social events, etc.?

By keeping track of all of this information and providing it to your doctor, you might be able to better manage your headaches.

When to see a doctor

Most headaches are harmless and do not need treatment from a medical professional. Primary headaches are the most common kind of headache, and more than 90 percent of all headache symptoms are caused by primary headaches.

Consult a medical professional if your headaches are persistent and getting in the way of your day-to-day activities.

Persistent tension-type headaches affect just 2 percent of the population, but they are responsible for a significant number of trips to the doctor and days lost from work.

Secondary headaches are those that result from other more serious conditions and come with symptoms that need a visit to the emergency department or a consultation with a physician.

Secondary headaches might be caused by more significant issues that should be addressed.

The symptoms of a brain injury may come on suddenly, be severe, and last for a long time, particularly if you are over the age of 50. You should also make an appointment with a physician if you have a headache on your forehead in addition to any of the following symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Weakness
  • Convulsions
  • Double vision
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shortness of breath

Conclusion

More studies are needed to identify alternative therapies for headaches and to determine which treatments are most effective. The majority of headaches in the frontal lobe respond well to over-the-counter medications and relaxation techniques.

Visit a physician if your headaches are becoming more severe and frequent. Your primary care physician can help you find the right treatment and medication, if necessary.

January 23, 2023