Causes of Headache


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Triggers list for Headache: The list of triggers mentioned in source as possible causal factors for Headache includes:

  • Anger
  • Muscle tension
  • Missed meals
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Sexual excitement

Cause details for Headache: What hurts when you have a headache? The bones of the skull and tissues of the brain itself never hurt, because they lack pain-sensitive nerve fibers. Several areas of the head can hurt, including a network of nerves which extends over the scalp and certain nerves in the face, mouth, and throat. Also sensitive to pain, because they contain delicate nerve fibers, are the muscles of the head and blood vessels found along the surface and at the base of the brain.

The ends of these pain-sensitive nerves, called nociceptors, can be stimulated by stress, muscular tension, dilated blood vessels, and other triggers of headache. Once stimulated, a nociceptor sends a message up the length of the nerve fiber to the nerve cells in the brain, signaling that a part of the body hurts. The message is determined by the location of the nociceptor. A person who suddenly realizes "My toe hurts," is responding to nociceptors in the foot that have been stimulated by the stubbing of a toe.

A number of chemicals help transmit pain-related information to the brain. Some of these chemicals are natural painkilling proteins called endorphins, Greek for "the morphine within." One theory suggests that people who suffer from severe headache and other types of chronic pain have lower levels of endorphins than people who are generally pain free.1

Underlying condition causes of Headache: The list of possible underlying conditions (see also Misdiagnosis of underlying causes of Headache) mentioned in various sources as possible causes of Headache includes:

Headache as a complication: Other conditions that might have Headache as a complication might be potential underlying causes of Headache. The list of conditions listing Headache as a complication in our database includes:

Headache as a symptom: Conditions listing Headache as a symptom may also be potential underlying causes of Headache. The list of conditions listing Headache as a symptom in our database includes:

Causes of Headache: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to causes of Headache:

Related information for causes of Headache: Further relevant information on causes of Headache may be found in the risk factors for Headache and underlying causes of Headache.

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Headache - Hope Through Research: NINDS

Last revision: Nov 3, 2003

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