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ANATOMY OF A HEADACHE

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Headache pain may originate almost anywhere within our complex system of nerves, blood vessels, muscles, soft tissue and bone Neurological, vascular and skeletal disorders can cause headache pain in a variety of ways.  Some pain originates in the face or head. Other pain may be felt there, but through the physiological phenomenon of referred pain, actually originates in another part of the body, where treatment must be focused.

Contraction of the muscles of the head from stress or tension may stimulate entrapped nerves and cause the localized sensation of headache pain to be sent to the brain.

A network of blood vessels surrounds the head and carries blood to the brain. Abnormal function of this vascular system, sometimes caused by compression of blood vessels by muscles or tissue in spasm, can lead to headache pain.

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The jaw is the most complex joint in the body, able to open and close, move side to side, and slide forward and back. Muscles, ligaments and a small cartilage disk operate the jaw. Muscle spasms or dislocation of this disk can cause headache pain.

Disorders of the neck muscles or bones of the cervical spine (the vertebrae of the neck) may cause pain in the area where the disorder occurs, or transmit the pain to an area of the head where it is experienced as a headache. Shoulder and back muscles can be affected by tension and stress. As these powerful muscles contract, they may constrict blood vessels or activate nerves, causing referred headache pain.

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Occasionally, muscle contraction headaches may be accompanied by nausea, blurred vision, or sensitivity to light and sound. Chronic muscle-contraction headaches can last for weeks or months. The pain of these headaches is often described as a tight band around the head.  Muscle-contraction headaches can even cause sore scalps – combing one’s hair can become painful.

headachetherapy.org | Email Michael | 847.770.3332