(ORDO NEWS) — Each of us has experienced a headache at least once. Many believe that this condition is directly related to the brain, for example, that spasms occur in it. But the brain tissue and bones of the skull do not have nerve receptors. How does your head hurt?
If you suffer from tension headaches or migraines, you know how hard life can be…
First of all, you need to understand that pain in the head depends on various reasons. These painful episodes are categorized to help doctors quickly identify the problem and treat you. There are primary and secondary headaches.
The former occur due to daily triggers (such as stress), while the latter occur when there is trauma or damage to the brain, or any disease that affects the head. Tension headache, migraine and cluster headaches belong to the first group, but have different causes.
Tension headache (THP)
TTH is classified according to its duration: episodic or chronic. Episodic TTH is the most common type of headache that most people experience.
It usually occurs as a result of stress (physical/emotional), fatigue, anxiety, lack of sleep, or poor posture (if you work at a computer) and resolves as soon as these triggers disappear.
Episodic tension-type headaches occur less than 15 days per month, while chronic tension-type headaches are more bothersome and occur more frequently than 15 days per month and can last up to six months…
Chronic tension-type headaches are thought to be caused by constant stretching or straining of the muscles at the base and back of the neck, the muscles of the head, or a group of muscles called the temporalis muscles that cover the temporal lobe.
When overworked or stressed, the nociceptors (a neuron that is activated only by a painful stimulus) in these muscles generate signals that are interpreted by the brain as a throbbing pain in the head.
The absence of stressors, as well as exercises that target the muscle groups of the neck and head, breathing exercises, posture correction exercises, reduced screen time, and an appropriate amount of sleep lead to relief of TTH. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help reduce the effects of this debilitating pain.
If TTHs seem like a curse, then migraines were invented by the devil himself! Migraines differ from tension headaches in how they occur. In other words, the pain may begin in a certain part of the head, but then gradually spread or shift. Migraine is usually accompanied by a feeling of nausea and increased photosensitivity.
In the case of migraine, certain patterns of activity in the brain cause the blood vessels to constrict or widen. During expansion, certain chemicals are released that are known to cause inflammation.
Nerves wrapped around blood vessels send pain signals that pulsate with the flow of blood. Alas, doctors still have a poor understanding of how to treat migraines. Approximately 20% of the world’s population suffers from this disease.
It is the not-so-pleasant cousin of migraines. As the name implies, cluster headaches are attacks of severe pain that are usually localized around, behind or above the eyes or on one side of the head and last approximately 15 minutes, recurring approximately eight times over a 24-hour period.
Fortunately, they are quite rare and only affect 1 in 1,000 people. Sufferers describe it as a white-hot rod stuck in the eye and head.
Along with blinding pain, symptoms include tearing or redness of the eye on the same side before the onset of severe pain. In some cases, the headache may be accompanied by a runny or stuffy nose on the same side of the face as the pain.
Triggers for cluster headaches include sudden extreme changes in temperature or atmospheric pressure. Drinking alcohol makes these headaches even more severe for the people who usually suffer from them. However, most do not appear due to external factors. Their occurrence is periodic, which means that attacks always occur at the same time of the year or during the same season.
There are no known causes of cluster headaches, but due to their cyclical nature, scientists believe they are related to abnormalities in the hypothalamus. One of the functions of the hypothalamus is to maintain our body’s biological clock, so this part of the brain appears to be associated with cluster headaches.
In a nutshell, your brain never experiences pain, it only processes it. Scientists don’t yet know the exact mechanisms behind each type of headache, but they do know that the surrounding muscles, blood vessels, and possibly other areas of your body are simply sending these signals.
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