The most common headache doesn’t start in your head

Understanding Pain Adult

Published on 21st September 2017

Edited on 21st September 2017

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Most of us know what a headache feels like. In fact, the most common types of headaches are called Tension Type Headaches, which affect more than 80% of people from time to time*. A tension headache generally feels like a band of pain wrapped around your forehead. You might blame your headache on long days in front of a computer, skipping meals or not getting enough sleep.

But that doesn’t really explain the source of the pain – does it come from your head or is there something else going on?

PINPOINTING THE SOURCE OF COMMON HEADACHE

When you have a headache, you might be tempted to think that the pain comes from your forehead or has something to do with your brain. However, it might surprise you to know that this is not the case. We know that the source of most headaches is actually strained muscles in your head or neck.

But how can a head or neck muscle be the source of your head hurting?

It may be because the muscles in your head/neck are becoming tight and strained. When this happens, tender knots develop in the muscles. These tender muscle knots send pain signals to the brain. It’s the pain signals from these muscle knots that you generally feel as a tight band of pressure around your head. With more than 30 different muscles in the neck and head, that’s a lot of potential for a headache!

WAYS YOU CAN MANAGE HEADACHE PAIN

There are many things you can do to help ease strained muscles in the neck and head – a source of tension type headaches.

Stress relief: If you feel busy and stressed, relaxation techniques such as meditation or simple breathing exercises may help to reduce your stress and ease muscle tension. It also helps to maintain a good work-life balance. Just making time to catch up with friends or grabbing a quick nap can bring stress levels back to normal.

Massage: Next time you get a nagging headache, the solution may be at your fingertips. Try a gentle massage to help soothe and relax the muscles in your head and neck. 

Pain-relief medication: If you don’t want headache pain slowing you down, over the counter pain relievers can help to provide effective relief. For fast pain relief, try Nurofen Express Maximum Strength 400mg Tablets to help relieve your headache at the source of the pain. Nurofen Express starts to get to work twice as fast as standard ibuprofen**.

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*https://www.westsuffolkccg.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/headache-lo-res-_v3mpages.pdf

**refers to absorption.

Nurofen Express 200mg & 400mg Tablets Contain ibuprofen (as sodium dihydrate). Always read the label.

Nurofen 200mg Tablets contain ibuprofen. For pain relief. Always read the label.

Nurofen is indicated for other body aches and pains and works on other parts of the body.