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Additional info for Handy Health Guide to Headaches
Com Chapter 6 TREATING HEADACHES Many people treat their headaches themselves, without going to a doctor. They take a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. These drugs are popular because they are usually quick and effective. They are also safe enough to take without a doctor’s prescription. How do pain-relieving drugs work? When body cells or tissues are damaged, they release a chemical called prostaglandin. This chemical stimulates the nerves that send pain messages to the brain.
A change in your everyday activities—such as getting too much or too little sleep—can bring on a headache. So can skipping a meal or eating much later than usual. A very bumpy bus ride can make your head hurt. You may get a headache when you feel sad, angry, worried, or upset. When you worry about a test at school or troubles at home, your head may start to hurt. You may also develop a headache if you are really upset after a fight with a good friend. Some people get headaches from strong smells, such as smoke, perfume, a new carpet, or fumes from paint or gasoline.
But your brain itself does not have nerve endings that can sense pain. If your brain were damaged, you wouldn’t feel any pain. In fact, a doctor can operate on a person’s brain while he or she is awake! com Nerve cells, such as the ones shown here, carry messages to the brain, where they are turned into something we can understand—like pain. So what is it that’s hurting when you have a headache? Most of the time, the pain comes from outside the skull, from the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles that cover your head, neck, and scalp.