Causes of headaches
- Chemical irritation
- Food intolerance
- Ischemia and tiredness
- Muscle tension and postural problems arthritis
- High blood pressure
Headaches Causes #1 - Chemical irritation
A number of chemicals can irritate pain receptors in arteries and nerves. The most common are alcohol and toxins produced by bacteria. Many industrial chemicals produce headaches if inhaled excessively.
Headaches Causes #2 - Food intolerance
Foods containing tyramine (cheese, red wine, beef extracts, yeast extracts) cause excessive vaso-dilation in sensitive people. Foods containing methylxanthines (coffee, chocolate, tea, and cola) cause constriction of cerebral blood vessels.
Headaches Causes #3 - Medicines
Some medicines, such as the SSRI anti-depressants (the 'Prozac family') cause vaso-constriction which results in a fierce headache in the first few weeks of use. Some drugs used to control high blood pressure cause headache, probably by vaso-dilation.
Headaches Causes #4 - Ischaemia and tiredness
Ischaemia means lack of blood. It happens when the blood vessels constrict excessively which lowers oxygen levels. This stimulates pain receptors in the artery walls. Although migraine involves vaso-dilation as well as vasoconstriction, many headaches are caused by vasoconstriction alone. Tiredness headaches are of this type. You can see this in a person's face, which is paler than usual, their hands feel cold and they feel unable to warm up.
Headaches Causes #5 - Muscle tension and postural problems
Headaches Causes #6 - Arthritis
Pressure from worn, damaged or inflamed joints in the neck may directly affect nerves by pressing on them. Pain also occurs because muscles become spasmodic around the area. Some people suffer headaches because their jaw bones are misaligned, causing pressure on nerves and muscular tension.