What is the scientific cause of headache and migraine? What actually happens in the head at that time?

Continuous pain in the head is of two types. One is called headache and the other is known as migraine in medical terminology. Both the types of pain are caused by pressing of the nerve endings. The difference between these two types of pain is due to different factors which bring pressure on the nerve endings. Tightening of muscles in the head and neck due to some reasons bring out pressure on the sensory nerves which identify this sensation as headache. Just as some water which has remained in elastic tube after the tap is turned off trickles out when the tube is pressed, the nerve endings also keep on sending a trickle of signals of unpleasant sensation to the brain. Therefore, as long as the nerves remain pressed headache does not stop.
A somewhat different process takes place in the brain during the pain caused by migraine. Not the muscles but the blood vessels which supply blood to the brain start contracting and expanding. When blood vessels expand they exert pressure on the surrounding nerve endings which start sending throbbing sensation to the brain.

Let us understand scientific explanation of the reason behind contraction and expansion of the minute blood vessels in the brain.

Occasional decrease of a chemical named cerotronin in our body causes contraction of blood vessels. Then adequate supply of blood does not reach brain. The brain which weighs about 1,300 grams and contains about 15 billion neurons or nerve cells requires 0.85 liters fresh blood to flow through it because it consumes maximum oxygen among all the organs of the body. Whenever there is a shortfall in blood supply the neurons get suffocated. So the brain sends out repeated signals to the blood vessels through the neurons of central nervous system requesting them to expand. When the blood vessels expand in response to the signals, the nerve endings which identify sensations get pressed and the brain experiences unpleasant sensation of pain.

Additional reading:
Migraine (Wikipedia)
Headache (Wikipedia)

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