Overview

What Are Headaches?

What Are Headaches?

A headache is defined as pain in the head and upper neck. The head and neck are the more common areas of pain in the entire body. Because so many people suffer from headaches, the treatment of which is often difficult, the Headache Clinic at University of Utah Health strives to understand the specific diagnosis more completely, enabling us to provide better and more effective treatment regiments.

Our physicians, physician assistants, and medical staff combine extensive experience, compassion, and the latest technology in addressing your health care problems due to headache. We provide inpatient and outpatient treatments for all headache disorders.

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Reoccurring Headaches

Headaches are an extremely common problem. It is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of all people have recurring headaches. It is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor’s office. Headache can be the symptom of a serious problem, or it can be recurrent, annoying, and disabling without any underlying structural cause.

What Causes Head Pain?

Pain in the head is carried by certain nerves that supply the head and neck. The trigeminal system impacts the face as well as the cervical (neck) 1 and 2 nerves in the back of the head. Although pain can indicate that something is pushing on the brain or nerves, most of the time nothing is pushing on anything.

We think that in migraine there may be a generator of headache in the brain which can be triggered by many things. Some people’s generators are more sensitive to stimuli than others, such as:

  • light,
  • noise,
  • odor, and
  • stress

That can cause a person to have more frequent headaches.

To learn more, read our guide Headache: A Patient’s Guide (pdf).