Before we get into details of alleviating these problems, it is important to know why
and how they happen in the first place.
Do not worry. I will not burden you with long and complicated medical terms. I have
taken great care to explain the origin of pain in a way that is easy, and even fun, to
understand. It is important, however, that you understand the way pain is generated, and
the nature of pain in general.
Where Does All Your Pain
Come From and Why?
As in any proper "relief zone", the first step is awareness...
The most universal complaint of pain is headache pain...and the most common type of
headache is the tension headache, followed by migraines
and cluster headaches, respectively. Headache symptoms can vary from a
dull, annoying ache, to an acute, throbbing pain - whether around your eyes, across your
head or at the base of your neck. But while stress and tension may help to trigger a
headache, the word "tension" in "tension headache" does not refer to
an emotional condition, but rather to the muscle-contraction, or spasm, of muscle.
What does a Tension Headache feel like?
- "It feels like a band around my head."
- "My entire face hurts."
- "It feels like my head is caught in a vice."
- "My head is paining all over."
- "It starts without any warning."
- "One side of my head is hurting."
- "It feels like I'm wearing a very tight hat."
- "My neck and jaws are aching."
- "It's a endless, dull, throbbing ache."
One thing I want to make clear right away. For over 99% of the population
(and the type of pains discussed here) headache pain does not come from your brain.
Even cutting the brain would not produce pain because it is completely insensitive.
Pain originates from the tissues lying between your skull and scalp.
Specifically, the muscles and blood vessels of
the face, scalp and neck. Essentially, there are three main muscle structures or layers
surrounding your head:
|Neck region - small and large skeletal muscles
Scalp region - small, thin muscles
Forehead/face region - very small and delicate muscles
encompassing the walls of the arteries and veins of the scalp and neck.
What is also of interest are the Temporal and Occipital
arteries or blood vessels.
The Temporal artery rises up on both sides of the head from the neck, goes below
and in front of the ears, upward directly in the front of the ears, and then slants
forward and upward to the upper temple area. From the temple area, the artery divides
widely over the forehead. A large percentage of headaches occur because of the temporal
The Occipital artery arises from beneath and behind the ears (on each side of
the head) and separates inward from each side across the lower region of the skull and
The Source of Pain
Okay now, still with me? This is where it all comes together. The actual source of the
"ache" comes from the pain nerve endings which terminate in the three muscle
structures. This is a very fortunate fact because if the pain arose from within the brain
or skull it would be near impossible to reach, let alone treat. But because the region
where the pain comes from is literally within reach and touch, you are in a better
position to do something about it.
|Headaches (and basically the same goes for eyestrain and neck pain too),
therefore, are caused by sustained/disrupted contraction of muscles - which in turn causes
diminished blood flow through the muscular arteries. This combination of muscular and/or
blood flow disruption irritates the nerve endings which protest by sending out pain
Simple, isn't it?
Migraines (Vascular Headaches) & Cluster
"Migraine" originates from Greek roots meaning "half head". This is
because, usually (but not always), this type of headache starts on one side of the head
and may expand to encompass the whole head. Cluster headaches are so named because they
occur in batches or "clusters" and then disappear for weeks or months at a time.
Often described as "feeling like a red-hot poker being slid into your eye
socket", cluster headaches are perhaps the most debilitating type of headache
and in chronic cases can occur almost daily.
Although why migraines and cluster headaches start in the first place is still unclear,
the final manifestation is, nonetheless, a physical one and originates from between the
skull and scalp: abnormal blood circulation agitating nerve endings which produce
agonizing distress and helplessness.
Eyestrain, Computer Eyestrain
It is inevitable that you have suffered from eyestrain at one point or another.
Eyestrain is perhaps the most common affliction that the information age has brought us
and there are absolutely no signs of it ever decreasing. Many times, however, you may not
even be aware of it.
Unsuspected eyestrain can be associated with twitching of the eyelids and face. It can
be responsible for nausea and vomiting, bad nutrition and loss of appetite, headaches, and
many other similar conditions. Have you ever experienced blurred or double vision? Perhaps
flickering or flashing sensations? Your eyes are trying to tell you something.
Eyestrain inevitably develops after lengthy use of the eyes as in sitting in front of a
computer, writing, reading or other detailed work. Poor lighting conditions also cause
stress in the eye muscles as they strain to focus properly and present clear images to the
Prolonged use of the eyes - as well as the stress and tension of day-to-day living -
cause a tightening of the delicate eye muscles and also the facial muscles around the
nose, cheeks and temples. I can easily demonstrate this to you right now: For a moment,
direct you attention to your face and try to relax your facial muscles. Go on, give it a
try. You may be quite surprised at how much they were clenched up.
This facial tightness leads to reduced blood circulation and thus compounds the
agonizing effects of eye fatigue. The resultant eyestrain eventually manifests
itself in everything from burning eyes and blurred vision, to headaches, migraines and may
even trigger cluster headache attacks.
Neck Pain, Stiff Neck & Upper Neck Pain
The pain mechanisms of neck pain are similar to headaches and eyestrain as described
above - diminished blood circulation caused by tensed muscles that irritate nerve endings.
Your neck balances the most important thing you have - your head - and is very
susceptible to tightening of the muscles even if you are a little tense. This
coupled with awkward and incorrect postures (usually while sitting in front of the
computer) only aggravates this dilemma for most people.
Neck pain symptoms can vary from a dull, annoying ache, to an acute, merciless
throbbing pain that ends up expanding to your shoulders and lower head and may eventually
end up causing dizziness and loss of concentration.
Sinus Headaches & Sinus Eyestrain
Sinus headaches (or sinus eyestrain) are very rare and it is very unlikely that you've
ever suffered from them. That may sound strange considering the magnitude of sinus
medications sold, but it is true. Even people with chronic sinus problem rarely suffer
headaches from the actual sinus inflammation. Though sinus problems can lead to headaches,
this is not very common in the general population. This have been proved repeatedly in
So what is the "sinus pain" that you've undoubtedly encountered on occasion?
Fortunately for you, as with headaches, most sinus pain is compounded by muscle tension.
Tension that generally comes from inactivity as a result of the original (small)
discomfort of sinus congestion. Hence, a solution to sinus pain would be similar or the
same as for any other tension headache, eyestrain or neck pain.
Everything is proportional and interconnected. The muscles of your face, head and neck
are smaller and more delicate than the muscles of your arms and legs for example.
Consequently, the level of strain that causes these muscles to tense up can be so little
that you don't consciously feel like you are over exerting them until it is too late
and you begin feeling the symptoms. In addition, a tiny bit of tension in one area can
cause greater pain symptoms in another area.
Virtually all head, neck, eyes and sinus pains originate from
lack of blood circulation caused by constricted muscles.
Now let's look at some of the treatments you have used in the past for pain relief...