Tension headache : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment

 What is Tension Headache?

Tension headaches are the foremost common variety of headache. Stress and muscle tension are typically factors in these headaches. Tension headaches typically don't cause nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light. They cause a gradual ache, instead of a throbbing one, and have a tendency to have an effect on either side of the head. Tension headaches are also chronic, occurring often, or each day.Headaches are a typical health problem. Nearly everybody experiences one at some purpose in life. however they’re not all the same. doctors cluster headaches into quite a hundred types.

What is Tension Headache?
Tension Headache

For many people, headaches cause minor aches or pains and happen often (every once in an exceedingly while). Less commonly, additional severe headaches (such as migraines) will cause throbbing pain. Some headaches could create routine tasks tough or close to impossible.

Rarely, severe, unexpected head pain will be a symptom of a heavy health problem, similar to a brain tumor.Tension headaches are the foremost common variety of headache. These headaches often cause mild-to-moderate pain around the head, face or neck. they sometimes don’t cause different symptoms (like nausea or vomiting). Health care suppliers usually don’t consider tension headaches to be dangerous.

Your healthcare supplier may decide your tension headache, "tension-type headache. This is often what this headache is named by the official medical publication that classifies all headache disorders.

  1. Nervous system

  1. Brain

  2. Cerebral hemispheres

  3. Diencephalon or interbrain

  4. Thalamus

  5. Hypothalamus

  6. Midbrain

  7. Cerebellum

  8. Pons

  9. Medulla oblongata

  10. The spinal cord

  11. The ventricular system

  12. Choroid plexus

Medical terms

  • A tension-type headache (TTH) is generally a gentle to moderate pain that's often delineated  as feeling sort of a tight band round the head. A tension-type headache is that the most typical style of headache, nonetheless its causes aren't well understood. Treatments for tension-type headaches are available. Managing a tension-type headache is commonly a balance between active healthy habits, finding effective non drug treatments and victimization medications appropriately.
  • Tension headaches are the most common type of headache The pain can range from mild to severe and is usually worsened by routine physical activity stress anxiety and even weather changes Recurring tension headaches may indicate a problem such as an injury or pinched nerve in the neck region Oftentimes tension headaches cause you to feel achy stiff and tight across your head and scalp area Medications such as over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs may offer relief for this type of headache If your other symptoms do not show signs of improving within several days after starting over-the-counter medications .

Symptoms Tension headache(TTH)

Signs and symptoms of a tension-type headache include:

  • Dull, aching head pain

  • Sensation of tightness or pressure across the forehead or on the sides and back of the head

  • Tenderness in the scalp, neck and shoulder muscles

Tension-type headaches are divided into two main categories — episodic and chronic.

Episodic tension-type headaches

Episodic tension-type headaches will last from half-hour to a week. Frequent episodic tension-type headaches occur lower than fifteen days a month for a minimum of 3 months. Frequent episodic tension-type headaches could become chronic.

Chronic tension-type headaches

This type of tension-type headache lasts hours and should be continuous. If your headaches occur fifteen or a lot of days a month for a minimum of 3 months, they're thought-about chronic.

Tension-type headaches versus migraines

Tension-type headaches are often tough to tell apart from hemicranias. Plus, if you've got frequent episodic tension-type headaches, you'll be able to even have migraines. In contrast to some sorts of migraine, tension-type headaches typically aren't related to visual disturbances, nausea or vomiting. Though physical activity typically aggravates migraine pain, it doesn't create tension-type headache pain worse. associate multiplied sensitivity to either lightweight or sound can occur with a tension-type headache, however this symptom isn't common.

What was your first brain tumor symptom?

Brain tumor symptoms vary depending on the location of the tumor Tumors that form near where the brain and spinal cord meet called central nervous system tumors of CNS tumors can cause headache nausea and weakness Those tumors are often malignant gliomas Non-CNS tumors in the brainstem area can cause tingling or numbness in your body parts controlled by that part of your brainstem; this is more common with meningioma tumors Symptoms from a primary brain tumor typically appear quickly once growth of that type of cancer begins They tend to progress rapidly; a person may have just one symptom at first.

When to see a doctor

If tension-type headaches disrupt your life otherwise you have to take medication for your headaches over doubly a week, see your doctor. Even though you've got a history of headaches, see your doctor if the pattern changes or your headaches suddenly feel different. Occasionally, headaches might indicate a heavy medical condition, equivalent to a brain tumor or rupture of a weakened vessel (aneurysm). once to hunt emergency facilitate

If you have any of these signs or symptoms, seek emergency care:

  • Abrupt, severe headache

  • Headache with a fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or speaking difficulties

  • Headache after a head injury, especially if the headache gets worse

Causes Tension headache(TTH)

The explanation for tension-type headaches isn't graspn. consultants accustomed to tension-type headaches stemmed from shortenings within the face, neck and scalp, maybe as a result of heightened emotions, tension or stress. However, analysis suggests that muscle contraction isn't the cause. The foremost common theory supports a heightened sensitivity to pain in people that have tension-type headaches. enhanced muscle tenderness, a standard symptom of tension-type headaches, could result from a sensitized pain system.Doctors and medical researchers don’t know what precisely causes tension headaches. Tension headaches may generally be connected toTrusted supply muscle tension in the head associated neck, or to poor posture. Analysis suggests that infrequent  tension headaches are also causedTrusted supply by the activation of hyperexcitable peripheral receptive neurons. These are neurons, or nerve cells, that relay sensory data from pain receptors within the body to the brain. If you get tension-type headaches, you'll have abnormalities in your central pain processing, and you may usually have an enhanced sensitivity to pain. Additionally, your condition to tension headaches is believed to be influenced by genetic factors. 

Triggers of tension headaches includeTrusted Source:

  • stress

  • alcohol

  • dental problems (such as clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth)

  • eye strain

  • dry eyes

  • fatigue

  • smoking

  • a cold or flu

  • migraine attacks

  • a sinus infection

  • caffeine

  • poor posture

  • emotional stress

  • not drinking enough water

  • lack of sleep

  • skipping meals


Stress is the most commonly reported trigger for tension-type headaches.

Complications Tension headache

Because tension-type headaches are therefore common, their result on job productivity and overall quality of life is considerable, significantly if they're chronic. The frequent pain might render you unable to attend activities. you may have to keep home from work, or if you are moving to your job, your ability to perform could also be impaired.

How do you make a tension headache go away?

  • To relieve a tension headache try resting in a quiet room in a darkened environment If the pain is severe take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen if you can tolerate it A hot compress on your head may also help relieve some of the pressure from your muscles and sinuses.
  • The main cause of tension headaches is muscle strain The muscles that surround the neck and scalp are often overly tight which can put pressure on nearby nerves There may also be problems with spinal alignment in the neck or people may have a problem with their jaw muscles Stress can make these issues worse but it's not necessarily the only reason for tense muscles in the first place.

Why won't My tension headache go away?

Tension headaches also known as muscle-contraction headaches or stress headaches are the most common type of headache They affect more than 12 million Americans every year according to the National Headache Foundation (NHF) Almost everyone has had a tension headache at one time or another--they can strike in response to physical discomfort such as eye strain or when you're under too much mental pressure Tension headaches typically develop gradually and last no longer than 30 minutes Although they have been described as "bandlike," they do not feel like a band around the head.

What is the best position to sleep when you have a headache?

Side sleeping: The most common position for headache sufferers is lying on their sides with a pillow between their knees This allows the head and neck to relax reducing muscle tension that contributes to pain and pressure.

What does a brain tumor headache feel like?

The most common symptom of a brain tumor is a headache This pain can be anywhere from mild to severe and may be constant or intermittent Brain tumor headaches may accompany nausea vomiting sensitivity to light dizziness or lack of coordination Diagnosing the cause of your headache will help us determine the best treatment for you.

Prevention Tension headache

In addition to regular exercise, techniques such as biofeedback training and relaxation therapy can help reduce stress.

  • Biofeedback training. This technique teaches you to regulate body responses that facilitate reduced pain. Throughout a training program session, you're connected to devices that monitor and provide you feedback on body functions akin to muscle tension, pulse rate and blood pressure. You then find out how to cut back muscle tension and slow your heart rate and respiration yourself. 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of talk therapy may help you learn to manage stress and may help reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches.

  • Other relaxation techniques. Anything that facilitates your relaxation, as well as deep breathing, yoga, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation, might help your headaches. you'll be able to learn relaxation techniques in categories or reception mistreatment books, videos or apps. Mistreatment medications in conjunction with stress management techniques are also more practical than either treatment alone in reducing your tension-type headaches. 

Additionally, living a healthy lifestyle may help prevent headaches:

  • Get enough, but not too much, sleep.

  • Don't smoke.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Eat regular, balanced meals.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Limit alcohol, caffeine and sugar.

Diagnosis Tension headache(TTH)

Tension headaches are principally diagnosed and support the symptoms you report. an intensive medical exam, which can embrace different tests or procedures, also wants to rule out underlying diseases or conditions. chasing associated data concerning your headache together with your care supplier helps build a correct diagnosis. If you've got chronic or repeated headaches, your doctor may conduct physical and neurologic exams, then try and pinpoint the kind and reason for your headaches victimization these approaches:

Your pain description

Your doctor can learn a lot about your headaches from a description of your pain. Be sure to include these details:

  • Pain characteristics. Does your pain pulsate? Or is it constant and dull or sharp or stabbing?

  • Pain intensity. A good indicator of the severity of your headache is what quantity you're ready to perform whereas you've got it. Are you able to work? Do your headaches wake you or forestall you from sleeping? 

  • Pain location. Do you feel pain all over your head, on only one side of your head, or just on your forehead or behind your eyes?

Imaging tests

If you have got uncommon or sophisticated headaches, your doctor might order tests to rule out serious causes of head pain, and adore a tumor. 2 common tests which will be wont to image your brain include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI scan combines a magnetic field, radio waves and computer technology to produce clear images.

  • Computerized tomography (CT). A CT scan could be a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a series of computer-directed X-rays to supply a comprehensive read of your brain. 

Treatment Tension headache(TTH)

If you get cephalalgia each, therefore often, over-the-counter pain relievers could effectively treat your pain.Some folks with tension-type headaches don't ask for medical attention and check out to treat the pain on their own. Unfortunately, continual use of pain relievers that are offered while not a prescription will truly cause another form of headache, medication overuse headache.

Acute medications

A variety of medications, both nonprescription and prescription, are available to reduce the pain of a headache, including:

  • Pain relievers. Simple pain relievers offered while not a prescription are sometimes the primary line of treatment for reducing headache pain. These embrace the medication aspirin, Motrin (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and Aflaxen (Aleve). 

  • Combination medications. Aspirin or Panadol (Tylenol, others) or each are usually combined with alkaloid or a downer during a single medication. Combination medication could also be simpler than single-ingredient pain relievers. several combination drugs are obtainable while not a prescription. 

  • Triptans and narcotics. For people that experience migraines and episodic tension-type headaches, a triptan will effectively relieve the pain of both headaches. Opioids, or narcotics, are seldom used as a result of their aspect effects and potential for dependency. 

Preventive medications

Your doctor might dictate medications to cut back the frequency and severity of attacks, particularly if you've got frequent or chronic headaches that aren't alleviated by pain medication and different therapies.

Preventive medications may include:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants, together with amitriptyline hydrochloride and protriptyline, are the foremost usually used medications to forestall tension-type headaches. Facet effects of those medications could embrace constipation, somnolence and dry mouth. 

  • Other antidepressants. Evidence also supports the use of the antidepressants venlafaxine (Effexor XR) and mirtazapine (Remeron).

  • Anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants. Other medications which will forestall tension-type headaches embody anticonvulsants, cherish gabapentin and topiramate (Topamax, Qsymia, others). A lot of study is needed. Preventive medications may need many weeks or more to make up in your system before they take effect. therefore don't get pissed off if you haven't seen enhancements shortly when you start taking a drug. Your doctor will monitor your treatment to envision however the preventive medication is working. In the meantime, overuse of pain relievers for your headaches may interfere with the results of the preventive drugs. raise your doctor concerning how usually to use pain relievers whereas you’re taking preventive medication. 

Lifestyle and home remedies

Rest, ice packs or a long, hot shower is also all you wish to alleviate a tension-type headache. A spread of ways will assist you scale back the severity and frequency of chronic tension-type headaches while not exploiting medicine. strive a number of the following:

  • Manage your stress level. One way to assist cut back stress is by coming up with ahead and organizing your day. differently is to permit longer to relax. And if you're caught in a very nerve-racking situation, contemplate stepping back. 

  • Go hot or cold. Applying heat or ice — whichever you favor — to sore muscles could ease a tension-type headache. For heat, use a hot pad attack low, a hot-water bottle, a heat compress or a hot towel. A hot tub or shower additionally may help. For cold, wrap ice, AN ice pack or frozen vegetables in an exceedingly material to shield your skin. 

  • Perfect your posture. Good posture will help keep your muscles from tensing. Once standing, hold your shoulders back and your head level. Pull in your abdomen and buttocks. Once sitting, confirm your thighs are parallel to the bottom and your head isn't unerect forward. 

Alternative medicine

The following nontraditional therapies may help if you have tension-type headache pain:

  • Acupuncture. Acupuncture might give temporary relief from chronic headache pain. stylostixis practitioners treat victimization extraordinarily thin, disposable needles that typically cause very little pain or discomfort. stylostixis is often safe once performed by AN knowledgeable acupuncturist who follows safety tips and uses sterile needles. 

  • Massage. Massage will facilitate scale back stress and relieve tension. It's particularly effective for relieving tight, tender muscles within the back of your head, neck and shoulders. for a few people, it's going to conjointly offer relief from headache pain. 

  • Deep breathing, biofeedback and behavior therapies. A variety of relaxation therapies are useful in coping with tension-type headaches, including deep breathing and biofeedback.

Coping and support

Living with chronic pain will be difficult. Chronic pain will cause you to be anxious or depressed and have an effect on your relationships, your productivity and also the quality of your life. Here are some suggestions:

  • Talk to a counselor or therapist. Talk therapy may help you cope with the effects of chronic pain.

  • Join a support group. Support teams are often sensible sources of information. cluster members often realize the newest treatments. Your doctor is also ready to suggest a bunch in your area. 

General summary

  1. versus migraine You may think that you have a tension headache or stress headache but the symptoms of this condition are actually very different from those of migraines And though some people use the terms interchangeably there are major differences between them This article will take you through what a typical tension headache is and how it differs from its more severe counterpart.

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