Yes, Your Headache Is Worse Than All Other Aches and Pains, Here’s Why

If you have a stomach ache that’s no fun,
but it’s just your stomach that hurts. If you stub your toe, that sucks but at least
it’s just your toe! But, if your head hurts it is all-consuming. You just want to crawl under a blanket and
stay there forever. Why is that? What is it about head pain? If you feel that way, you’re not alone;
research shows that a similar stimulus will cause a stronger pain response in the head
than the rest of the body. Scientists are finally starting to understand
why. It’s not just about pain, it’s about emotions. Ok, it’s partly emotions. It actually comes down to how the brain is
wired. Research has shown that sensory neurons that
connect to the head and face are routed directly to the brain’s main emotional centre. Sensory neurons in the rest of the body are
also connected to this same brain region, but their connection is indirect. This means that feelings of pain are tied
to emotions and emotional distress. This is regardless of where the pain is coming
from and whether sensory neurons in the head are more sensitive to pain than those in the
body. The finding is supported by fMRI data that
compares head pain to body pain. They found more activity in the emotional
brain centre — the amygdala — for head pain. The same thing was found with mice. The researchers found more activity occured
when pain stimulus was applied to the face, rather than the paw. Especially in a region linked to the brain’s
instinctive and emotional centers. Again, this a result in-line with brain wiring,
consistent with face neurons having a more direct link to emotional centers than body
neurons. Further study showed that activating the brain
pathways linked to emotions could prompt pain. And it spirals from there. An external emotional trigger can cause a
headache, which can evoke a stress response that makes the headache worse. Meanwhile, during these headache episodes,
the brain is abnormally sensitive to triggers like light and sound. The good news from this brain-pain connection
is that silencing those same pathways that can cause pain, reduce the physical symptoms. This has some pretty interesting implications
for treating physical ailments, especially things like frequent migraines and any kind
of chronic neuropathic face pain. Because if there’s an emotional element
for head and face pain then dealing with the emotional element might actually lessen the
pain. Treatment could go beyond pain management
and seek to restore the chemical balance in the brain to silence the pain pathway. Emotional pain can have some lasting effects,
for example — men never really get over their breakups. Trace and I eat ice cream and talk about it
here. Of course, if you’re lactose intolerant,
some research says that taking pain-relievers for a headache during a breakup can actually
lessen the emotional pain! Thanks for watching.

77 thoughts on “Yes, Your Headache Is Worse Than All Other Aches and Pains, Here’s Why

  1. "When there's an emotional connection between your pain, reducing the emotional stimulus can ease the pain."
    Well duh, and of course it's that easy. So my kid just died, all I have to do is just stop thinking about it right?

  2. I get migraines quite often. I have to pull the blinds, turn off lights, nap, eat Excedrin, drink a caffeinated beverage, and put a pause on the day until I can function.

  3. My mom gets intense headaches enought to puke, not being able to stand and having to go to the hospital.
    The worst is that there is no aparent reason, she is not sick, it just happens, so i think headaches are horrible

  4. I have a pretty high pain tolerance unless it’s a headache. I can put up with most pain without showing it, but a bad headache will have me in tears.

  5. I woke up this morning with a migraine headache so bad I couldn't move without screaming. It was causing a fever, neck pain, back pain, and nausea. Made myself rest in my comfort cave and cuddled a cat, it's eased up so I can at least walk and watch YouTube now. Seeker is cheering me up and making the headache better as well.

  6. Aaah, I have an eye headache right now that may turn into a migraine all over my forehead Feels like a cork screw shape of light wire drilling around that area.
    Migraines feel like a pulse of stinging heat.
    I remember having a cat scan when I was younger and they couldn't see anything until it happens again. Can't schedule that.
    I can't eat, drink, smell, think or move during the worst. Any stimulis seems to make it worse.😫 Hope they figure out something.

  7. Can you talk about the differences between head pain and a headache? The type of pain you experience is quite different.

  8. Haha I am not crazy! Thank you Vintage Space lady for confirming this. I have migraines and I know that less pain seems worse, oddly enough.

  9. If my hand or foot hurts I can always say to myself "worst case scenario, I'll just cut it off and replace it" and after that it is pretty easy to block the pain. I still feel it but it is not upsetting after that. This line of logic just doesn't work so well for the head or spine (yet).

  10. Ugh so many people in the comments that don't get it. The point is that while other pain is localised, the pain from a headache is affected by all stimuli

  11. so many of these things are so logical and also many could be somewhat wrong(in the combination) because, if u control ur brain normally u shude be irrelevant to pain or be same be it in head, and in body. usualy we dont use our toes if we sit, or the tommy might just be less activity.. like if ure really really hunger it can probably equal a head-ache.. But if these theories of miine here are wrong.. that bodies are simply less sensors or lose more of the enery until it pass to brain.. then its the fact that, BRAIN CONTroLS ALL ACTIVIty!!! you ruin part of it..have problem=harder to control.. a bit like a good pc+good internet. internet might be the body and computer could be the brain. without a brain u cant work. of course, without internet.. well u cant do that much, actually no on pc u can do lots of things if uve dLEd films.. anywys point is, without a computer, internet=useless. in some cases.. but who uses these new useless phones anyway they so huge u cant run ultramarathons with em.. they're annoying as hell, uncomfortable 🙂 no1 uses them. so anyways.. U can do lots on computer, it starts from computer. Internet is connected to pc.. related to ur activities, but like atleast 60%+ im sure is mostly ur pc. u can remix musics, or DL films w hile u have net then u dont need net. unelss u play online game.. u can think lots of things without using ur body. mostly we use to move to other work place or to sport.

  12. I have Trigeminal Neuralgia, an extremely painful condition which involves the Trigeminal nerve in the face. From personal experience, my emotional state definitely has an impact on my pain and vice versa. I've found I'm more prone to having pain in situations where I am likely to feel a negative emotional state, like anxiety or anger. Indeed, worrying about whether or not I am going to have pain in front of people can actually seem to bring the pain on without any external stimulus. I have also noticed that pain in my torso isn't anywhere near as bothersome when my Trigeminal Neuralgia is bad, and I've been known to hit my extremities while having face pain and not even realize it until I see a bruise, swelling, or blood.

  13. As a child, I used to regard painful blows to the head as the most hazardous compared to anywhere on rest of the body (before puberty, that is)
    Psychology is advanced by neuroscience
    FMRI rocks but what now I'm stuck doing Electrical Engineering while pursuing statistics when not in college

  14. The music doesn't fit the the story. It's music you would hear in Zelda when in a town or trading with someone.

  15. I had a serious concussion once. Worst pain of my life. Worse than any migraine, wound, or tooth pain I've ever experienced.

  16. 34 years dealing with migraines. Chronic and daily for 7 years. I can attest to what she's saying. A lot of people actually commit suicide to stop the pain. There is no other like it.
    Jenn 💖 in Canada 🍁

  17. Someone else: I have two broken legs, I'm giving birth, and passing a kidney stone all at the same time.

    Me: Quit whining. I have a HEADACHE!

  18. Why not create a weapon that produces those symptoms in people by sending out specific vibrations and or waves that match those of the ones used by our brain neurons while we are experiencing a headache.

  19. Well, That is problem of some peple. I never had headeach over the last 25 years, at least. Why? because I am the healthiest human in the entire world.
    A process that makes you happy is not a pain.

  20. I find feeling sick in the stomach the worst. I can handle a headache, a fever, but a stomach bug or that nauseous feeling you get if you take an antibiotic/prescription pain med on an empty stomach (it burns your stomach lining) … nope.

  21. I watched this drunk last night and have to watch it again because I did not understand it

    Edit: This makes more sense and I am glad

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