Everyone has headaches at some point throughout their lives, which can be excruciating, depending on the severity. Whether it is a heavy workload that causes a person to have severe tension on their foreheads, allergies that cause immense pressure in between the sinus cavity in the middle of the face, or common factors that seem to cause a pounding sensation in the head, headaches are no joke. Often, headaches seem to go away when it’s in their acute form but can become chronic when the pain doesn’t go away, causing issues to the eyes and muscles. Today’s article looks at how headaches affect the body and how they can become a somatovisceral problem for many individuals. We refer patients to certified, skilled providers specializing in neurological treatments that help those individuals that are suffering from headaches. We also guide our patients by referring to our associated medical providers based on their examination when it’s appropriate. We find that education is critical for asking insightful questions to our providers. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
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How Headaches Affect The Body
Do you feel a pounding sensation in your forehead? Do your eyes seem to become dilated and sensitive to light? Do both arms or hands seem to lock up and have a pins-and-needles sensation that feels uncomfortable? These signs and symptoms are various forms of headaches affecting the head. The head helps protect the brain from damage as the neuron signals from the central nervous system are connected to the cervical regions of the spine. When factors like lifestyle habits, dietary food intake, and stress affect the central nervous system, they begin to co-mingle to form various forms of headaches. Each form of headache continuously shifts in many suffering individuals to never sit still for their clinicians to capture their specific profile. Some of the multiple headaches include:
- Tension headaches
- Stress headaches
- Sinus pressure
- Clustered headaches
When headaches begin to affect the neck and head, research shows that these headaches cause a convergence between the cervical sections of the spine and the skull base. This becomes a mediator for the neck and head to develop referred pain. Referred pain is known as pain that occurs in one section of the body than where it is located. For example, say someone has been through a traumatic injury that causes them to have whiplash in their neck; that pain in their neck muscles can mimic a headache affecting one side of their head. Additional information has mentioned that migraine headaches can cause chronic inflammatory issues in the gut-brain axis, causing dysfunctional autonomic and enteric nervous systems and affecting the body.
How The Body Deals With Migraines-Video
Have you experienced throbbing in various sections of your face? Do you feel your muscles tense up around your neck or shoulders? Or does your body feel exhausted that noise seems to cause immense pain? The various forms of headaches can cause many problems not only in the neck but in the body as well. The video above shows what happens to the body when a person is suffering from a migraine. Research studies have noticed that individuals suffering from migraines will develop associated somatic comorbid symptoms like anxiety and depression, making migraine headaches more frequent. At the same time, being the top three of the most common forms of headaches, migraines may share a common underlying mechanism involving the overlapping profiles of the cerebrovascular system that is equivalent to a repetitive stress disorder affecting the central nervous system.
How Headaches Are A Somatovisceral Problem
Research studies have found that the severity of the headache in a person, especially in women, causes a synergetic relationship that causes somatic symptoms and depression to be so high. This is due to the overlapping risk profiles that affect the mechanisms of the sympathetic nervous system, causing the production of cervicogenic headaches and chronic migraines to form. This is because the junction of the brain stem and the spinal cord is called the trigeminocervical nucleus and overlaps the nociceptive cells. When this happens, The close anatomic pain fibers from the cervical spine and the trigeminal system start to be aggravated; it creates pain impulses from the neck to the head, causing headaches to be interpreted.
Overall, headaches are no joke when they start to affect the body and cause mimic pain in different parts of the body. When various factors begin to cause somatic issues that tense the muscles but also affect the surrounding nerves, it can cause headaches to form and become excruciating. Different forms of headaches can affect other regions of the face and can go away for a short period in their acute form. However, in its chronic condition, it can cause the body to be in so much pain. Finding ways to prevent headaches from progressing further can benefit the individual.
Castien, René, and Willem De Hertogh. “A Neuroscience Perspective of Physical Treatment of Headache and Neck Pain.” Frontiers in Neurology, Frontiers Media S.A., 26 Mar. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6443880/.
Cámara-Lemarroy, Carlos R, et al. “Gastrointestinal Disorders Associated with Migraine: A Comprehensive Review.” World Journal of Gastroenterology, Baishideng Publishing Group Inc, 28 Sept. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037083/.
Maizels, Morris, and Raoul Burchette. “Somatic Symptoms in Headache Patients: The Influence of Headache Diagnosis, Frequency, and Comorbidity.” Headache, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2004, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15546261/.
Tietjen;Brandes JL;Digre KB;Baggaley S;Martin V;Recober A;Geweke LO;Hafeez F;Aurora SK;Herial NA;Utley C;Khuder SA;, G E. “High Prevalence of Somatic Symptoms and Depression in Women with Disabling Chronic Headache.” Neurology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 9 Jan. 2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17210894/.
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The information herein on "Headaches As A Somatovisceral Problem" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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