Most of us, at one time or another, have dealt with challenging headaches that cause us undue grief. Reportedly, the head is one of the most common sites of pain in our bodies. This pain can range from being a subtle nuisance all the way to debilitating or life threatening. And amazingly, even though it may feel like the pain is originating within your brain, the brain itself has no pain registering nerves. All the pain originates from the tissues and structures that surround the brain.
Headaches are categorized by the source of the pain. The first category is the Primary headache. Tension, migraine, and cluster headaches, along with some other less common varieties, are experienced in this category. The second category is Secondary headache. Here the pain is associated with structural problems within the neck or back, mouth area, or sinuses. More serious headaches associated with bleeding in the brain or meningitis are listed in this category as well. The last category is cranial neuralgia, facial pain, and other headaches.
Since you are most likely familiar with the tension headache, let’s focus on that category. Tension headaches are the most common type of Primary headaches and are more common among women than men. While the actual cause of a tension headache is not known, it is suspected that the most likely reason is the contraction of muscles around the head area caused by stress. When the muscles react to the stress, they contract causing clenching and inflammation which, in turn, causes pain. Most times, over the counter pain medications will offer ample relief. It is important, though, to carefully read the instructions and ingredients list to avoid over-medicating and negative drug interactions. Should you be treating a child or teenager with a headache, beware of aspirin because of the risk of Reye’s Syndrome.
The following are some types of pain you may experience and some possible indications:
*Sharp, shooting pain: nerve problems
*Throbbing pain on one side: abnormal swelling and constriction of blood vessels
*Dull, heavy diffuse pain: digestive disturbances, infections, or fevers
*Pressure, squeezing, or blinding pain: toxic overload, fatigue, or emotional stress
Below are some common pain locations and possible indications:
*Forehead: digestive problems, constipation, eye strain or sinus problems
*Top of the head: disorders of the ovaries, bladder, uterus, emotional stress, or other psychological conditions
*Side of the head: metabolic imbalances, stress, or postural or structural problems
*Back of the head: Eye strain, muscle strain, or inner ear problems
*Total head: exposure to toxic by-products, high blood pressure, metabolic disorders, or overexertion
Don’t let headaches get you down. If you are concerned that your headache might be more than a simple tension headache, call your physician and get checked. And remember to consult with the greatest physician, Jesus, who is available when needed, day or night, no appointment necessary, to help you through to a pain free day. As Luke 9:11 reminds us, all you need to do is ask Him and believe.
* Resources: MedicineNet.com and Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Headaches by Robert Milne, M.D.