What Causes Headaches? - Possible Triggers

Are you wondering what causes headaches?

The truth is that the precise causes of headaches are not fully established yet, and there are several theories as to how this condition could come about.

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A note about What Causes Headaches? - Possible Triggers

In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.

In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.

Historically, it was thought that the vasodilation and vasoconstriction (the changing of blood vessel tightness) resulted in migraine headaches, whilst tension headaches were the result of muscle tension (excessive contraction of certain muscles, namely those in the neck and jaw).

This hypothesis also included the notion that the constriction of blood vessels in the brain resulted in the aura that accompanies migraines, as well as the nausea and vomiting. It was thought that the dilation of the blood vessels that occurs thereafter brought on the pounding pain that accompanies migraines.

Although it is still thought that these mechanisms play a role in headaches, many people now believe that their origin is more of a neurochemical nature than a physiological one.

Role of Serotonin

What causes headaches? Currently, the notion regarding headaches is that they originate in the brain stem. It is thought that the trigeminal nerve is triggered (by some sort of yet to be pinpointed "headache trigger") and releases a burst of neurotransmitters (chemicals that "share" messages in the brain).

Generally, this prompts release of serotonin, another neurotransmitter that "screens" stimuli. Thus, generally, the release of serotonin screens out the "headache messages" from the trigeminal nerve.

However, in people with chronic headaches, there is thought to be an inadequate supply of serotonin. Because this hypothesis is primarily based on a study wherein people were given serotonin-depleting injections, causing them to develop headaches, it has not been extensively researched, but certainly seems to be of some merit. Indeed, there are a few disorders that are marked by unexplainable pain which are treated with medication that increases serotonin in the brain (SSRIs).

Other Underlying Health Conditions and Ailments

What causes headaches? In other cases, headaches have a precise identifiable cause - the headaches that are caused by another factor. Sinus issues, toothaches, ear infections, and muscle pain have all been known to cause headaches.

Tension headaches are also fairly well documented. These are headaches that arise from tension in the muscles of the neck / shoulders and sometimes in the jaw.

In figuring out what causes headaches, it is also important to note that headaches can be a symptom of a few serious diseases. For this reason, it is important to see a health practitioner if you experience chronic or otherwise excessive or abnormal headaches.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors also contribute to the development of headaches. Pollutants can cause headaches, as can allergies and certain types of poisoning (i.e. lead poisoning and food poisoning).

Foods themselves may also cause headaches; chocolate, red wine, caffeine, and cheese are frequently reported as inducers of headaches. Nicotine (or to be precise, fluctuating levels of nicotine in the blood) can cause headaches, too.

What Causes Headaches - Conclusion

Luckily, although we do not know exactly what causes headaches, we do have a variety of different methods to treat them. The pain caused by headaches - and its ability to interfere with our lives - is not necessary to deal with, and from lifestyle modifications to natural remedies, it is certain that there will be something that can reduce the effect of headaches on the lives of those who suffer from them.

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