Why Does My Head Hurt When I Press On It?

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Headaches are a common ailment that nearly everyone has experienced at some point in their lives. They can range from mildly annoying to debilitating, and the causes can be numerous. However, one peculiar aspect of headaches is that sometimes, pressing on the head can make them hurt even more. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why pressing on your head might lead to increased pain and what it might indicate about the nature of your headache.

Understanding Headaches:

Before delving into why pressing on your head can be painful, it’s crucial to understand the basics of headaches. There are several different types of headaches, each with distinct characteristics:

Tension Headaches: These are the most common type of headache. They often result from muscle tension and stress. The pain is typically described as a dull, constant ache that can affect various parts of the head.

Migraines: Migraines are intense, throbbing headaches often accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. They can be triggered by various factors, including certain foods, hormonal changes, and stress.

Cluster Headaches: Cluster headaches are extremely painful and usually occur in clusters over a few weeks or months. They are often located around one eye and can be excruciating.

Sinus Headaches: These result from sinus congestion or sinusitis. The pain is usually felt in the forehead, cheekbones, and around the nose.

Rebound Headaches: Overusing pain relief medications can lead to rebound headaches, which occur when the medication’s effects wear off. These headaches can be challenging to treat.

Why Pressing on Your Head Can Be Painful:

Pressing on your head can exacerbate headache pain due to several factors:

Muscle Tension: In tension headaches, muscle tension in the head, neck, and shoulders is a primary cause of pain. When you press on these tense muscles, it can worsen the pain by increasing muscle tension further.

Increased Blood Flow: Applying pressure to your head may temporarily increase blood flow to the area, which can exacerbate the pain, especially in the case of migraines.

Inflammation: In some headaches, like sinus headaches, inflammation in the sinus passages and nasal cavities can contribute to the pain. Pressing on these areas can worsen the discomfort by aggravating the inflammation.

Sensitivity to Touch: During a headache, your head may become hypersensitive to touch. Light pressure can be perceived as painful due to this heightened sensitivity.

Identifying the Underlying Cause:

To effectively address the issue of head pain when you press on it, it’s important to identify the underlying cause of your headaches. Here are some steps to consider:

Keep a Headache Diary: Record when your headaches occur, their intensity, and any potential triggers. This information can help you and your healthcare provider determine the type of headache you’re experiencing.

Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you experience frequent, severe, or long-lasting headaches, consult a healthcare provider. They can perform a thorough evaluation to determine the cause and recommend appropriate treatment.

Identify Triggers: If your headaches are related to specific triggers, such as certain foods, environmental factors, or stress, work on avoiding or managing these triggers to reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches.

Relaxation Techniques: For tension headaches, relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce muscle tension and alleviate pain.

Medication: Depending on the type and severity of your headaches, your healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, or preventive treatments.

Lifestyle Changes: Making lifestyle adjustments, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, managing stress, staying hydrated, and maintaining a balanced diet, can help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.

Seek Specialist Care: If your headaches are chronic, severe, or do not respond to initial treatments, consider consulting with a neurologist or headache specialist who can provide more targeted care and treatment options.


Headaches are a common and often perplexing issue. When pressing on your head exacerbates the pain, it can be frustrating and concerning. Understanding the type of headache you’re experiencing and its underlying causes is the first step toward effective management and relief. Remember that self-care measures, lifestyle changes, and, in some cases, medical treatment can all play a role in alleviating head pain and improving your quality of life. If you’re struggling with recurrent or severe headaches, seeking professional medical guidance is essential to ensure you receive the most appropriate care.

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