What are Headaches and Migraines and what causes them?

What Is a Headache, and What Causes It?

A headache is pain experienced anywhere in the head or neck. A headache may be a symptom of a number of different head and neck conditions. While brain tissue itself is not susceptible to pain as it lacks pain receptors, pain in the head or neck may be caused by disturbance in pain-sensitive structures around the brain.

Pain-sensitive structures are located in nine areas of the head and neck, including the cranium, nerves, muscles, subcutaneous tissue, arteries and veins, eyes, sinuses, ears, and mucous membranes.

Headaches can be classified in a number of different ways, though the most popular classification system is that used by the International Headache Society. A headache is a non-specific symptom that may have a number of different causes. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause and will often require analgesics.

What Is a Migraine, and What Causes It?

A migraine is different from a headache in that it is a chronic neurological disorder. It is marked by recurrent moderate to severe headaches that may be associated with different autonomic nervous system symptoms.

A migraine sufferer will experience pulsing, throbbing pain, normally on one side of the head. Symptoms like vomiting, nausea, and extreme light and sound sensitivity may also occur, lasting from four hours to three days. Migraine headaches are easily misdiagnosed as sinus or tension headaches but may interfere with sleep, work, and everyday activity at their most severe. Migraines can occur rarely, such as biannually or annually, or up to several times a week.

Other causes of migraines may include hormonal fluctuations, infection, unnatural diet, missing nutrients, and low levels of probiotics.

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