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

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 Anatomy   |   Biology   |   Health   |   Psychology   |   Science
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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.

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A craniofacial-specific monosynaptic circuit enables heightened affective pain
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-017-0012-1
“Humans often rank craniofacial pain as more severe than body pain. Evidence suggests that a stimulus of the same intensity induces stronger pain in the face than in the body. However, the underlying neural circuitry for the differential processing of facial versus bodily pain remains unknown. Interestingly, the lateral parabrachial nucleus (PBL), a critical node in the affective pain circuit, is activated more strongly by noxious stimulation of the face than of the hindpaw.”

Why head and face pain causes more suffering
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-11-pain.html
“Hate headaches? The distress you feel is not all in your—well, head. People consistently rate pain of the head, face, eyeballs, ears and teeth as more disruptive, and more emotionally draining, than pain elsewhere in the body.”

Understanding the stress response
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response
“Chronic stress is unpleasant, even when it is transient. A stressful situation — whether something environmental, such as a looming work deadline, or psychological, such as persistent worry about losing a job — can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce well-orchestrated physiological changes.”

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