A tension headache is considered as the most prevalent type of headache. This type of headache is capable of causing mild or reasonable pain in the head, behind the eyes and neck. In some individuals, they experience a constricting band around the forehead. In some, the pain can be severe that it can disrupt with activities at home or in the workplace.
Most individuals who experience tension headaches have intermittent pain that occur 1-2 times in a month. Nevertheless, tension headaches can also be chronic. The chronic headaches include episodes that can last for more than 15 days in a month. Take note that women are more likely to suffer from tension headaches than men.
What are the possible causes?
Tension headaches can be caused by the contraction of muscles in the head and neck. Various foods, stressors and activities can cause these contractions. In some individuals, they develop tension headaches after using a computer for prolonged periods or driving for extended hours. Even exposure to cold temperature can instigate a tension headache in some individuals.
Other factors that can trigger tension headaches
- Sinus infection
- Consumption of alcohol
- Eye strain
- Flu or cold
- Poor posture
- Emotional stress
What are the symptoms of tension headaches?
- Dull head pain
- Tenderness around the forehead and scalp
- Pressure around the forehead
The pain caused by a tension headache can be mild or moderate but it can be intense in some cases that can be debilitating. This is why this type of headache can be confused with a migraine. On the other hand, tension headaches are not accompanied by nausea and vomiting. In rare cases, it can trigger sensitivity to noise and light.
Management of tension headaches
When an individual ends up with a tension headache, you can provide him/her with over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen in order to control the headache.
Other measures to ease the headache include the application of a heating pad or ice pack over the head for 5-10 minutes several times in a day, instructing the individual to take a hot bath or shower to ease the muscles, taking a break from the TV or computer and improving the posture. Just remember though that these techniques might not prevent tension headaches from recurring. By enrolling in a first aid class, you can readily ease the symptoms with pain management measures.
How to prevent future headaches
Since tension headaches are usually triggered by specific triggers, proper identification of the factors that instigate the headaches is vital in order to prevent future episodes.
With the help of a headache diary, it can help the individual determine the exact cause of the tension headaches. Note down beverages, meals, activities as well as scenarios that trigger stress. After several weeks or months, a connection can be determined. If headaches occur on days that a particular food was eaten, it might be the trigger.