The most common type of headache are what physicians call "tension-type" headaches which feel like a giant rubber band squeezing your head, creating soreness in your head, neck and shoulders. We all experience headaches from one time to another. But what exactly is it? Whether you're feeling stressed, sick or just hit by a sudden storm of pain, headaches can really inhibit your everyday activities. Here's the science behind headaches.
Scientists aren't 100% sure what's causes that splitting sensation during these episodes.
What research has suggested is that overactive or problematic nociceptors, a nerve that communicates pain or another feeling of discomfort to the brain. The central nervous system in the body, (our brain and spinal cord) extend from our peripheral nervous system. Neurons connect everything like building blocks in our body, from our fingertips to the inner workings of our brain. If you touch a hot stove or get a massage, the sensory neurons tell your body to feel pleasure, pain and everything in between.
Nociceptors aren't actually rooted in the brain; they live in the nerves and muscles all over the body. During a headache, what actually is causing pain are the muscles in your head and neck as well as the brain's membrane, called meninges. The brain itself doesn't actually hurt, it's everything around it.
Anything that causes stress can trigger headaches such sleep deprivation, stress at work, anxiety and being overworked. Physical stresses like poor posture and grinding your teeth can also bring on a headache.
The Desk Worker's Headache
Those who sit at a desk for most of the day may suffer from Cervicogenic headaches. This is largely due to the forward head posture that gradually happens when we sit at a desk for long periods of time. Writing, texting and even reading put undue stress on our beck, compressing the greater occipital nerve. To keep our head in the position it needs to be in when we sit in front of the computer, the muscles are working hard to keep our chin up and head positioned. The suboccipitals (little muscles on back of beck) clamp down on the greater occipital nerve, which refers pain over the back and side of the head.