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  • TMJ Headaches

    Feb 13

    What Are A Few Of The Usual Causes Of Headaches?

    All of us experience headaches occasionally but some of us suffer from headaches more than others. So just what causes headaches?

    When you consider the numerous different types of headaches and headache sufferers it should not be surprising that the causes are just as diverse. There are literally hundreds of possible reasons for a headache including medical problems like the thankfully rare instances of cerebral aneurysms and brain tumors. However the most common headaches also have common causes.

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    In all too many instances simple eyestrain such as that seen when staring for too long at a computer screen can lead to a headache. At other times, a sinus infection due to a head cold or allergy can be the cause. Taking certain prescription medicines can also result in a headache.

    Despite the fact that the precise cause is not always known, narrowing of the blood vessels is also believed to be the culprit in a range of cases. Nerve fibers in the head that are sensitive to pain line the walls of the blood vessels and when they contract the nerves are activated and send signals to the brain. As luck would have it, the brain itself cannot feel pain because it does not contain any pain sensitive nerve cells and tension-type or cluster headaches are the result.

    However your blood vessels can dilate as well as contract and when they do so one theory at least holds that cluster headaches and migraines can result. Present research suggests that there are also other more important factors at play when it comes to migraine headaches.

    Tension or more accurately tension-type headaches can result from other sources like tension in the muscles of the shoulder, neck and even the jaw. Individuals who have experienced TMJ disorder which is a disorder resulting from tension of the temporomandibular joint causing the jaw to tighten against the skull are all too familiar with this.

    In serious cases headaches will arise out of some underlying disease and these are often labeled as ‘secondary headaches’. The catalogue of diseases that can cause headaches is lengthy and will include everything from irritable bowel syndrome to scarlet fever.

    Commonly environmental factors also play an important role. Carbon monoxide poisoning such as that resulting from the gas produced by many water heaters or a car exhaust can produce severe headaches and indeed a headache is one of the main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Other causes include allergies, lead poisoning and food poisoning.

    Even where food is not actually toxic as would be the case with food contaminated with a bacterial infection some individuals may be sensitive to compounds which will not affect the general population. Such common foods as chocolate and cheese can cause a headache in some individuals as will caffeine, some preservatives and red wine.

    However position, posture and various other controllable factors may well be some of the most common causes. As a growing number of people are working with computers every day so we are seeing more eyestrain, neck tension and jaw stress.

    Almost 85% to 90% of headaches are common tension headaches that are usually the result of one or more of the factors detailed here. That means that in the overwhelming majority of cases the cure for your headache is easy and is within your control. provides a wide range of information about headaches including ocular migraines and migraine headaches

    By Donald Saunders
    Published: 4/7/2008

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