How Do You Relieve Eye Pressure Headaches?

Reviewed on 7/13/2021

Eye pressure headaches cause mild to moderate pain and pressure behind the eyes, which are usually caused by migraines, tension headaches, and other conditions. Pain relief for eye pressure headaches can include pain relievers (aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs], acetaminophen [Tylenol], caffeine-containing analgesics) and home remedies (heat, ice, massage, rest, biofeedback).
Eye pressure headaches cause mild to moderate pain and pressure behind the eyes, which are usually caused by migraines, tension headaches, and other conditions. Pain relief for eye pressure headaches can include pain relievers (aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs], acetaminophen [Tylenol], caffeine-containing analgesics) and home remedies (heat, ice, massage, rest, biofeedback).

Eye pressure headaches describe headaches caused by pressure behind the eyes. There are numerous causes for eye pressure headaches

General treatments to relieve many types of eye pressure headaches may include: 

  • Pain relievers
  • Non-medical treatments
    • Heat
    • Ice
    • Massage
    • Rest
    • Biofeedback

Other treatments to relieve eye pressure headaches depend on the cause. 

Eye pressure headaches caused by cluster headaches may also be relieved by:

Eye pressure headaches caused by migraine headaches may also be relieved by:

  • Triptans
  • Trigger point injections
  • OnabotulinumtoxinA (Botox)
  • Anti-nausea medications
  • Selective serotonin 1F receptor agonist
  • Calcitonin-gene related peptide (CGRP) antagonists
  • Ergotamine preparations
  • Neuromodulation
  • Peripheral nerve blocks

Eye pressure headaches caused by a sinus infection (sinusitis) may also be relieved by:

Eye pressure headaches caused by a toothache may also be relieved by:

  • Rinse the mouth with salt water (children should not do this)
  • Oral pain-relieving gel 

Eye pressure headaches caused by acute inflammation of the optic nerve (optic neuritis) may also be relieved by:

  • Intravenous corticosteroids 
  • Disease-modifying therapy 

Treatment to relieve eye pressure headaches caused by facial injury depends on the location, nature and severity of the injury.

Eye pressure headaches caused by Graves’ disease (overactive thyroid) may also be relieved by:

  • Antithyroid medicines
  • Beta-blockers
  • Surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland 

Eye pressure headaches caused by acute angle-closure glaucoma (a severe type of glaucoma) may also be relieved by:

  • Pressure-lowering eye drops
  • Mild steroid eye drops
  • Oral or intravenous (IV) acetazolamide
  • Anterior chamber paracentesis 
  • Laser peripheral iridotomy 

What Are Symptoms of Eye Pressure Headaches?

Eye pressure headaches usually cause mild to moderate pain and pressure behind the eyes. 

Other symptoms that may accompany the eye pressure headache include:

  • Head pain 
    • That also affects the forehead, temples, or the back on head and/or neck 
    • May be dull, aching, or throbbing 
    • May affect both sides of the head
    • May feel like a “vice-like” tightening band-like sensation around the neck and/or head
    • May be mild or severe
  • Stiff muscles between the head and neck
  • Fatigue 
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea 
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of concentration

What Causes Eye Pressure Headaches?

There are a number of causes of eye pressure headaches, including: 

  • Tension headaches 
    • Headaches that cause a tightening or pressure sensation in the head
  • Cluster headaches 
    • Tend to be painful and may come and go throughout the day over several days or weeks
  • Migraine headaches 
    • A type of a neurological disorder that tend to cause severe head pain along with sensitivity to light, sound, or smells
  • Other causes for eye pressure that may cause headaches include:
    • Sinus infection (sinusitis)
    • Toothache
    • Inflammation of the optic nerve (optic neuritis)
    • Facial injury
    • Graves’ disease (overactive thyroid)
    • Acute angle-closure glaucoma (a severe type of glaucoma)

 

How Are Eye Pressure Headaches Diagnosed?

The cause of eye pressure headaches is diagnosed with a patient history, a physical exam, and tests such as: 

SLIDESHOW

16 Surprising Headache Triggers and Tips for Pain Relief See Slideshow

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Reviewed on 7/13/2021
References
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/causes-of-headaches

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/tension-type-headache-in-adults-acute-treatment?search=headache%20treatment%27&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

https://headaches.org/2007/10/25/tension-type-headache/

https://www.ceenta.com/news-blog/why-is-there-pressure-behind-my-eye

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/acute-treatment-of-migraine-in-adults?search=headache%20treatment&source=search_result&selectedTitle=7~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=7

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https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/toothache/

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/optic-neuritis-prognosis-and-treatment?search=optic%20neuritis&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=2#H6

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