It hurts to even think about it!


NEW YORK – Everyone has suffered from a headache at one time or another. Perhaps a business meeting stressed you or overcast skies prompted a heavy sinus feeling, or maybe too many hours spent in front of a computer screen had something to do with a dull throb you’ve experienced.

It is also common that a headache that started in one area can then spread out or move to another location. It’s time to get the heads-up on what headaches really are.

There are many triggers for a headache, but have you ever given any thought to what actually causes the pain? According to, it is commonly believed that headaches are the result of irritation to nerves and pain-sensitive structures in the head and neck regions.

Because of the way nerves are arranged in the head and neck, pain in one area can travel or “refer” to another part of the head. Pain messages travel along nerves back to the brain, which interprets the location of the pain according to which “section” of the brain that nerve sends its messages to.

Sometimes however, the brain is unable to distinguish between one part of the same nerve and another part of that same nerve – hence a problem in one area of the head or neck can be perceived as pain in another area of the head or neck.

More complicated.

An even more complicated component to the headache conundrum is that the head and neck region is comprised on multiple numbers of interconnections between the different nerves of the head and neck regions.

It’s a bit like a switch board, which receives electricity from a number of rooms in the house. When a fuse burns out it is hard to know which appliance, and in which room the problem began. This is why headaches triggers are often difficult to determine and treat.


Migraine headaches are in a class of their own. They are usually accompanied by a higher intensity of pain and may be associated with aura-like symptoms (like visual changes or sensory disturbances) and frequently with nausea, vomiting or sensitivity to light and sound.

While over-the-counter medications often alleviate some minor headache conditions, if you suffer from migraines or headaches which do not seem to go away, visit your health care provider to receive proper treatment and rule out serious illness.


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