Headache - Causes






Brain tissue itself does not feel pain, but other kinds of tissue in and around the brain can feel pain. For example, muscles in the scalp, face, or neck can contract and become painful, and blood vessels in the brain and face can swell, causing pain in the muscles and tissue on the skull.

Abortive:
Describes an action that cuts something short or stops it.
Biofeedback:
A technique in which a person learns to consciously control the body's response to a stimulus.
Prophylactic:
Referring to a treatment that prevents the symptoms of a disorder from developing.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation:
A procedure in which mild electrical currents are used to stimulate nerves in order to prevent the transmission of pain messages in the body.

Tension headaches are thought to be caused when muscles in and around the head contract (tighten up) due often to stress or poor posture. Tension headaches are also triggered by eye-strain, overexertion, loud noises, and other disturbing factors in the environment.

Migraine headaches are thought to occur when blood vessels in the brain dilate. In either case, pressure is exerted on certain tissues that can feel pain. Migraines are often triggered by food items, such as red wine, chocolate, and aged cheeses. For women, hormone changes may also be a cause of migraines. Women may experience migraines at certain times in menstrual cycle, when they are taking oral contraceptives, or after menopause.

Cluster headaches seem to be associated with alcohol and tobacco use. They can also be triggered by tension and by histamines (a compound the body releases as part of an allergic reaction; see allergies entry).

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