OH, MY ACHING HEAD!

STRESS. HORMONES. PARENTS. GENES. THE LATEST ABOUT WHAT GIVES US HEADACHES--AND MAKES THEM GO AWAY

The Inca used to treat headaches by drilling a hole in the skull. The French favored cold compresses. Today we use shelffuls of heavily advertised over-the-counter remedies: aspirin, Advil, Tylenol, Aleve. But how much do scientists really know about headaches and what causes them? Quite a bit, as doctors who gathered in New York City last week for a meeting of the American Association for the Study of Headache can attest.

First, some background. Researchers have known since the 1960s that not all headaches are the same, medically speaking. Tension headaches, which are the easiest to treat, are triggered by clenched...

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