What Causes Pressure in the Head and Face?

The most common causes of pressure in the head and face include allergies, ear infections, the common cold, muscle tension, sinusitis, stress and tension headaches. Pressure in the head is a feeling of throbbing, pain or tightness that affects the face, scalp, brain and skull, as Healthgrades describes.

Increased intracranial pressure is a serious condition in which pressure inside the skull is higher than usual. The possible causes of this include an aneurysm, encephalitis, a seizure disorder, a brain tumor and brain injury. If untreated, the sensation of head pressure or increased intracranial pressure can lead to coma, disability, paralysis, permanent brain damage or respiratory arrest, states Healthgrades.

Pressure in the head is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as chills, light-headedness, sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting, and sudden overwhelming fatigue. These symptoms vary according to the underlying cause or condition, the patient’s age and individual factors. A migraine headache is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, while a slow heart rate can indicate increased intracranial pressure, as Healthgrades explains.

Symptoms that accompany life-threatening pressure in the head include bleeding from the ear, bruising around the eyes, shortness of breath, changes in consciousness and sudden problems with vision. Patients with these symptoms need to seek emergency medical treatment, as Healthgrades advises.