Most of us know what a headache feels like. In fact, 8 out of 10 people have headaches from time to time. You might blame your headache on long days in front of a computer, skipping meals and not getting enough sleep. But that doesn’t really explain the source of the pain – does it come from your head or is there something else going on?
When you have a headache, you might be tempted to think that the pain comes from your forehead or has something to do with your brain. However, it might surprise you to know that the source of the pain could be the muscles in your neck and head. But how can a neck muscle cause your head to hurt?
It’s all because of a type of pain called referred pain. Referred pain happens when your brain confuses pain signals from one part of the body and thinks that they are coming from another part of the body.
Because everything in the body is connected, the brain has difficulty pinpointing exactly where the pain is coming from. So when the muscles in your neck and head are sore, you feel it as a headache. And with more than 20 different neck and head muscles, that’s a lot of potential for a headache!
The most common type of headache feels like a band of pain wrapped around your forehead. However, we know that this pain is most likely due to a muscle somewhere in your neck or another part of the head.
So what is it about those head and neck muscles that’s causing your head to ache?
It may be because the muscles in your neck are becoming tight and strained. When this happens, sore knots develop in the muscles. These tender muscles knots send pain signals to the brain. It’s the pain signals from these muscle knots that you feel as a tight band of pressure around your head.
There are many things you can do to ease achy muscles in the neck and head – a source of headache pain.
Stress relief: If you feel busy and stressed, relaxation techniques such as meditation or simple breathing exercises may help to reduce your stress and ease muscle tension. It also helps to maintain a good work-life balance. Just making time to catch up with friends or grabbing a quick nap can bring stress levels back to normal.
Massage: Next time you get a nagging headache, the solution may be at your fingertips. Try a gentle massage to soothe and relax the muscles in your head and neck. Massage also leads to an increase in endorphin levels – the body’s natural pain relievers that can also boost feelings of wellbeing.
Pain-relief medication: If you are worried about headache pain slowing you down, pain relievers can provide effective relief. For fast pain relief, try Nurofen Zavance to relieve your headache at the source of the pain. Not only is it absorbed up to twice as fast as standard Nurofen, it targets the source of pain by working both at the site of pain in the body and on pain signals that reach the brain.
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