Eli5: if there are no pain receptors in the brain directly why do headaches/migraines hurt?

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Basically title, but from what I’ve gleaned over the years of reading medical books out of curiosity, tv shows—both drama and based in real life ones like Unexplained ER etc—we don’t have pain receptors in the brain for the brain itself, which is how they can do twilight sedation brain surgeries and patients don’t report feeling anyone poking metal tools through their skull jello.

So why in all the realms does it have to hurt so GD much when I get a migraine or headache—not counting tension or sinus headache as those originate elsewhere

In: Biology

5 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

You don’t need nerve signals to feel pain. An example of this is the feeling of pain you get when seeing a video of someone who falls and gets hurt real bad. You can also experience phantom pain, like in this video: https://youtu.be/14A0ttQtkCo?si=WsO-E9jmzJLwtkjO 

Anonymous 0 Comments

The brain tissue doesn’t have pain receptors but there are other types of tissue in your head that does have pain receptors. For instance, blood vessels, meninges, muscles, skin all have pain perception.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The brain isn’t the thing “hurting” in that instance. It’s everything around it, which is very capable of signalling pain.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Brains have an amazing ability to simply make stuff up, and ‘where is the pain?’ is one of those things. The body might detect pain elsewhere, and then the brain effectively goes ‘okay, head hurts now’. Mild dehydration, for example, has no direct reason to cause a headache. It also happens with non head pains: ‘phantom limb’ problems as an example, where pain receptors literally don’t exist but the brain still interprets that as ‘ouch’.

Anonymous 0 Comments

pain doesnt have to be real your brain can just start yelling PAIN and then you can feel pain wherever brain says pain in

phantom pain, you lose your right arm and you brain can say you have pain in your right arm