What causes frequent headaches? Scientists have discovered a completely new cause

What causes frequent headaches?  Scientists have discovered a completely new cause

Recent research sheds light on a new cause of headaches. It turns out that migraines and tension headaches may be associated with inflammation of the neck muscles, which in turn gives room to look for new solutions to this problem.

Headache is a common ailment that can be caused by various reasons, such as stress, fatigue or various diseases. It usually presents with a feeling of throbbing, dull or stabbing pain in various parts of the head. Sometimes it is also accompanied by other symptoms, such as photophobia, nausea or dizziness. Many people experience headaches periodically, but when they become frequent or intense, it is extremely important to consult a doctor for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Researchers have discovered a new cause of headaches

Many people who struggle with frequent and common headaches look for the cause of their ailments. It turns out that frequent headaches, including migraines, can be caused by problems with the neck muscles – inflammation of the neck muscles, especially the trapezius muscle. The latest study was conducted by scientists from the University Hospital of Ulm. They looked at primary headaches such as tension headaches and migraines.

“Our imaging studies provide the first objective evidence of the extremely common involvement of neck muscles in the development of primary headaches, such as migraine neck pain and tension-type headache. We took advantage of the ability to quantitatively measure subtle inflammation in muscles,” said Dr. Nico Sollmann, author of the study.

Primary headaches and neck muscle inflammation

Primary headaches are often accompanied by neck pain. The results of the latest research presented at the “Radiological Society of North America” ​​shed new light on the causes of these ailments. The study used advanced imaging techniques to measure inflammation in the neck muscles, a change from the traditional approach to studying headaches that focused on neurological or vascular factors. The study included 50 people, mainly women aged 20 to 31. These were 16 volunteers with tension headaches. Another 12 people had tension headaches and migraines at the same time, and 22 people were completely healthy (this was the control group).

Scientists observed that the greatest changes, indicating inflammation in the muscles, occurred in people who struggled with both types of pain. “The inflammatory changes in the neck muscles that we measured clearly correlate with the number of days spent with headache and the presence of subjectively felt neck pain. These changes allow us to distinguish between healthy people and patients suffering from primary headaches,” explained Dr. Nico Sollmann.

Hope for new methods to relieve headaches

When a tension headache occurs, the person feels pressure and mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head. Tension headaches are related to, among other things, stress. Migraines, on the other hand, are severe and throbbing pain that usually occurs on one side of the head. It can also appear on both sides, but it is not symmetrical. Migraines may also be accompanied by nausea, weakness and photosensitivity. Nearly 150 million people worldwide suffer from such chronic migraines.

“Our results indicate the role of neck muscles in the pathophysiology of primary headaches. Therefore, therapies targeting the neck muscles may lead to simultaneous relief of neck pain and headache,” said the study author. In the future, the study’s results could reduce the use of medications and improve treatment outcomes for millions of people with these conditions.

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