chronic headache from concentrating hard?
July 20, 2005 4:05 PM   Subscribe

I think im developing a chronic headache that started from concentrating very hard with brow furrowed but now seems to be brought on by much less strenuous thinking.

If anyone has had this and knows what it is, do tell! Otherwise read on for my best ideas about what it is...

I asked my doctor and he said it may be a tension headache which would be from muscle strain but im not entirely certain. Besides according to wikipidea it isnt completely known what causes tension headaches if thats what it is.
Im not surprised at how it started. I would sit and think hard for hours about how to solve all of my and the worlds problems trying to push my cpu to the limit, churning through everything and anything rapidly trying to think laterally. So i got headaches from the strain. What i didnt expect to happen though is that either i have trained myself to think hard even about things that dont warrant it, or i have weakened my brain's tolerance to mental strain.
The pain i get is right under the bumps in the forehead that are right above the rims of the eyesockets (supraorbital something). It feels like my brain is getting swollen and pushing on that part of my skull. Thats the best way i can describe it. It feels internal as oppose to external muscle strain. I do seem to have trained myself to furrow my brow in concentration whenever i think. This chronic behaviour could be leading to strain. But i feel like if i walked around all day with my brow furrowed it wouldnt do anything. Its the thinking thats doing it.
I don’t know why people furrow their brows when they think, but I feel like when I think, im concentrating all of my mental energy towards the middle of my forehead.
I hope someone can help!
posted by dino terror to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Think (I know, you don't need to think more) about how you sit when you think. I get headaches when I concentrate really hard at work. But it's because I lean into my computer and hunch my shoulders and it causes muscle pain in my neck, which leads to the headache. You may just need to exercise better posture.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:17 PM on July 20, 2005

It doesnt seem to matter what position im in :)
posted by dino terror at 5:30 PM on July 20, 2005

are you squinting when you think? I have bad eyes, and always get headaches in my eye sockets when I squit for a long time. You don't have to be furrowing your brows to be tensing those muscles up there.
posted by muddgirl at 6:19 PM on July 20, 2005

It's a chronic headache. These are very common. Further characterizing it with names like tension, muscle, migraine, cephalgia, or exploding head syndrome will not help it go away.

Do you want help making it go away?
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:53 PM on July 20, 2005

er... wait! no... i mean yes! (what is with the patronizers on askme?)

It just occurred to me that the sinuses may be involved and it looks like the frontal sinus is exactly where im having the problem...
posted by dino terror at 8:25 PM on July 20, 2005

It just occurred to me that the sinuses may be involved and it looks like the frontal sinus is exactly where im having the problem...

Go to a doctor, get him to send you to an ENT and an allergist. Stop mucking around with your head - it can lead to nose polyps and other nasty things.
posted by muddgirl at 10:42 PM on July 20, 2005

I get headaches as well... sometimes just minor tension headaches, all the way up the scale to migraines so severe they make me vomit uncontrollably and I have to go to the ER for a shot of painkillers + anti-nausea drugs. Gently massaging my forehead for either kind seems to help, although that help is admittedly slight when I have the severe migraines! Try rubbing circularly over the sore area or all over your forehead.

And focus your attention on your facial muscles, and relax them. If you have trouble relaxing them, deliberately tense them for a few seconds and then you should find yourself able to relax them. It's surprising how tense we can be without realizing it! I know from experience!

And then, get thee to a doctor, like everyone said.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:18 AM on July 21, 2005

Sometimes people who are stressed and thinking hard forget to breathe for awhile, which can lead to a lack of oxygen to the brain which can lead to all kinds of weirdness.

Don't forget to breathe!
posted by softlord at 5:55 AM on July 21, 2005

I didn't mean to be patronizing; it just sounded like you were awfully excited about classifying your headache, and maybe you already found some satisfactory way of making it go away.

For what it's worth, a feeling of pulsing or pressure inside the eye socket is pretty typical of migraine, and not of the other sorts of headache that have been mentioned so far. Since you don't report a premonitory aura of visual sparklies, lethargy, sensitivity to light or noise, or nausea, it would be a 'common migraine,' by far the most frequent form of headache I discover in my neurology clinic.

The good or bad news, depending on your perspective, is that most headaches are treated from the same pot of pills, no matter what their divers and multifarious classification(s).

Sinus headache is extremely rare. It is not taught to doctors (nor diagnosed at all) in the UK, for example. It's nothing like tension or migraine headache - the feelings of pressure in the sinus area in those headaches are just an illusion. Sinus headache feels like someone stabbing you with an icepick in a mucosal area. However, because most people think they have a sinus headache when they feel a dull headache in the area of the frontal sinus, the TV commercials show animations of vasoconstrictors shrinking inflamed tissue in the sinus. This is, again, an illusion; migraines respond well to topical as well as oral vasoconstrictors for reasons that are probably not related to vasoconstriction.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:39 PM on July 21, 2005 [2 favorites]

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