Why do headaches seem to hurt worse than any other type of pain? Scientists have an answer and it has to do with your emotions.

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018

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 also about emotions. It 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 center. 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 center, 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.

This video, "Why do headaches seem to hurt worse than any other type of pain? Scientists have an answer and it has to do with your emotions. ", first appeared on seeker.com.

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