The hurt in headache pain emanates from a network of nerves that covers the scalp and from particular nerves in the face, mouth, and throat.
- Muscles of the head as well as blood vessels along the surface membrane surrounding the brain and base of the brain also contain pain-sensitive nerve fibers.
- Many nerves run from the brain directly to the face and head.
- These nerves have pain receptors that carry pain signals to the brain. Stress, muscular tension, and expanded (dilated) blood vessels provoke pain sensations.
- Once a pain message is received, the brain registers pain originating from regions of the head, face, and neck.
Two common causes of headache pain can explain and differentiate two common types of headaches, tension-type and migraine headaches.
- Tension may strain muscles of the face, neck, and scalp, leading to the tight, pressing pain sensation of tension-type headaches.
- Swelling and stretching of the blood vessels in the head cause vascular headache pain: A migraine headache is the principal form of vascular headaches.
The bones of the skull and tissues of the brain cannot generate pain sensations because they do not contain pain-sensitive nerve fibers.