and Migraine Headaches: Doctors aren't entirely sure
what causes headaches, but they now believe that tension
and migraine headaches--even though they lie at opposite
ends of the same spectrum--are related to one another.
What's more, both headache types are likely inherited:
It appears that tension and migraine headache sufferers
have a genetically predisposed defect that involves the
brain chemical serotonin. This chemical, which seems to
be on the tip of every scientist's tongue these days,
regulates your mood, how well you sleep, and the narrowing
and widening of your blood vessels.
what likely happens when you get a migraine and probably
a tension headache, too:
electrical wave sweeps over the brain.
The electrical activity causes a surge in the serotonin
level, which causes blood vessels to constrict.
Serotonin seeps into the surrounding tissues, which lowers
the level of serotonin in the brain.
The blood vessels expand and the nerves in the brain become
irritated by the lack of serotonin.
brings on the electrical activity and the rise and fall
in serotonin? The answer is triggers.
triggers for tension and migraine headaches include:
Too much or too little sleep
Changes in weather and seasons
Missing a meal
too much caffeine
Eating certain foods:
Pickled, fermented, or marinated foods
Cured meats (hot dogs, luncheon meats)
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Drinking alcohol (especially red wine)
Getting too much sun or overexposure to bright, glaring
Estrogen replacement therapy
A change in altitude or pressure
Strong odors (perfume, cigarette smoke, paint, etc.)
Motion (in a car or boat)
Doctors don't believe that cluster headaches, which are
potentially the most painful headaches, are inherited.
They may, however, be caused by a serotonin imbalance
and/or by a defect in the body's biological clock.
Tension and Migraine Headaches:
At some point in their lives, 90% of people will get a
tension headache; migraines affect about 15% of the total
population. Both headache types affect women three times
as often as men.
Cluster headaches affect 1% of the population overall,
and strike men four times more often than women.