Stress is the Most Common Culprit
They can be merely disturbing or completely unbearable. Many headaches disappear without any treatment. Some effortlessly cured, while others are stubborn and recurring. But hardly do headaches warn of a severe illness.
Pain in the Brain?
A headache is not a pain in the brain, though it may feel like it. The brain itself does not have pain-sensitive nerve cells. Instead, nearly all headaches originate in the network of nerves and nerve-rich muscles and blood vessels that surround your face, neck, and head. These pain-sensitive nerve cells can activate by muscle tension, enlarged blood vessels, stress, and other triggers. Once stimulated, the nerve cells transmit messages to the brain, causing you to be in pain.
Around 95% of headaches are primary headaches, meaning an underlying medical condition does not cause them. Other headaches, called secondary headaches, stem from medical disorders like head injury, swollen sinuses, or tumours.
If you are feeling stressed, depressed, or worried – or if you are lack of sleep – you are at risk for a tension headache. Most diagnosed headaches are related to stress or muscle tightness, usually in the shoulders, neck, scalp, or jaw. Tension headaches can cause a feeling of painful pressure on the neck and head. It sometimes feels like the grip of a stretched elastic band around your head.
Migraine headaches are the second-most frequent, striking about three times more women than men. Migraine pain often described as extreme, throbbing, or pulsing. Migraine sufferers can have severe sensitivity to light and sound. In some cases, nausea and vomiting come along with the headache. Although the real cause of migraine pain is still a mystery, one theory is that it linked to blood vessels widening and tightening which surrounds the brain, which irritates the nearby nerves.
A less familiar but more severe form of headache happens in “clusters,” repeatedly at the same time of day for several weeks. These cluster headaches often begin abruptly as a sharp or burning pain centred around one eye, which can last up to 3 hours. Most people can relieve headache pain by making lifestyle changes, learning ways to relax, and taking pain relievers. If these approaches do not work, your doctor may have more suggestions.