What are headaches?

What are headaches?

Your skull bones and tissues of the brain do not have nerves that are sensitive to pain, basically… your brain can never actually hurt! Sounds crazy, right? So, what is it that hurts when we have headaches?

There is a network of nerves that extend over the scalp and into the face, mouth, and throat that are very sensitive to pain. The muscles of the head and blood vessels found along the surface and the base of the brain can also feel pain. A combination of these areas is typically what we feel when we have a “head ache”.

So what causes headaches? Unfortunately, that is not an easy answer.

There are many different types of headaches and it is not always easy to identify the source of a headache. Migraines for example, are thought to involve the brains blood vessels, where as tension headaches are caused by stressful events and involve the tightening of facial and neck muscles. Some chronic headaches can last for weeks or months due to chronic muscle contraction or guarding.

90% of headaches that occur are tension headaches. These usually are due to tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp, and jaw and often brought on by stress.

If you are having headaches more than three times per month, we typically recommend medical treatment. There are a variety of treatment options for tension headaches and migraines that do not involve medication. Rehabilitation, trigger point therapy, chiropractic, and massage therapy are all very effective in reducing tension headaches; in many cases, two or more of these interventions combined will help eliminate your annoying and at times debilitating headaches.

If you suffer from headaches every week, month or even every day, you really need to seek treatment. Cactus Medical Center offers a variety of interventions at one location that can help reduce and even eliminate your headaches, call today to make an appt. and get rid of those headaches!

 

Reference: medlineplus.gov

Author
Dr. Casey McNinch, PT, DPT is a Physical Therapist with expertise in working with the aging population, individuals with Parkinson's Disease, and individuals with neck and low back injuries.

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