Almost all of us experience a headache occasionally but some of us suffer much more than others. So just what causes a headache?
Thinking about the variety of headaches and headache sufferers it should not come as any surprise that the causes of headaches are just as diverse. There are many possible reasons for a headache including medical conditions such as the thankfully rare cases of cerebral aneurysms and brain tumors. However the most commonly experienced headaches also have common causes.In a lot of cases simple eyestrain such as that seen when staring for too long at a computer screen can produce a headache. At other times, ordinary a sinus infection caused by an allergy or head cold can be the cause. Taking certain prescription medications can also result in a headache.Though the exact cause is not known in every instance, narrowing of the blood vessels is also believed to be the culprit in many cases. Nerve fibers in the head which are sensitive to pain line the walls of the blood vessels and when they contract the nerves send signals to the brain. paradoxically, the brain cannot feel pain since it does not contain any pain sensitive nerve cells and cluster or tension-type headaches result.However blood vessels can dilate as well as contract and when they do so cluster headaches and migraines can be the result. Current research proposes that there are also other far more important factors at work when it comes to migraines.Tension or more accurately tension-type headaches can arise from other causes such as tension in the muscles of the neck, shoulder and even the jaw. Individuals who have experienced TMJ disorder which is a condition caused by tension of the temporomandibular joint causing the jaw to tighten against the skull will be all too familiar with this.In serious cases headaches may be produced by some underlying disease and these are normally referred to as 'secondary headaches'. The catalogue of conditions this can cause headaches is lengthy and will include everything from scarlet fever to irritable bowel syndrome.In many cases environmental factors also play a significant role. Carbon monoxide poisoning such as that resulting from the gas produced by many water heaters or a car exhaust can result in very severe headaches and indeed a headache is one of the prime symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Other causes include allergies, lead poisoning and food poisoning.Even where food is not actually toxic as will be the case with food contaminated with a bacterial infection some individuals may be sensitive to compounds that will not affect people in general. Such everyday foods as cheese and chocolate will cause a headache in some individuals as will certain preservatives, caffeine and red wine.However position, posture and various other controllable factors may well be some of the most common causes. As an increasing number of people work with computers on a daily basis so we see more neck tension, jaw stress and eyestrain.About nine out of ten headaches are common tension headaches which are normally the result of one or more of the factors detailed above. In other words in the vast majority of cases the cure is easy and is within your control.