Tension Headaches

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Tension headaches: How it is different from migraines?

Causes, symptoms of tension headaches. Know more…

Monday, 28th June 2021

Headache is one of the most common illnesses that people face. Data shows that approximately half of the world's population suffers from this disease at some point. For most people, a headache is just a stabbing or shooting pain in the head, but it can be more complicated than this. Different types can have their own set of symptoms and causes, and require different treatments. Among all tension headaches, the most common type of headache that people often encounter. However, the reason for this is unclear.


Types of headaches

Headaches can be divided into two categories: primary and secondary. There are no underlying health problems when the primary headache occurs. They can be caused by stress, fatigue, pregnancy, lack of sleep, poor posture, skipping meals, or excessive drinking. Sometimes the blood vessels or muscles around the brain swell, compressing the nerves and causing headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by other conditions. The reasons include regular use of painkillers and tumors.


What is a tension headache?

Tension headache is the most common type of primary headache. Patients may feel tightness or pressure around the forehead. It seems that someone squeezed your skull from both sides. It can also cause pain in the back of the head and neck.

Tension headaches can be divided into two types, depending on their frequency and the duration of their existence. Onset tension headaches can last from 30 minutes to a few days and occur less than 15 days a month. Chronic headaches occur more than 15 days a month, and symptoms can last for several months. Many times, ignoring occasional headaches can lead to chronic headaches over time.


Causes and risk factors

Tension headache is caused by the contraction of the head and neck muscles. Anything that causes it can cause tension headaches. There may also be risk factors that increase the chance of these headaches. The following things may cause tension headaches:

  • Eye fatigue caused by staring at a computer screen
  • Fatigue caused by prolonged driving
  • Drinking
  • Cold or developing sinus infection
  • Caffeine withdrawal
  • Lack of adequate sleep
  • Poor posture
  • Dehydration
  • Hunger or skipping meals
  • Iron and vitamin deficiency
  • Jaw problems
  • Smoking
  • Mood problems,  mental stress, or mental illness, such as depression


Also Read: Blood Pressure: Myths Vs Facts


Tension headache symptoms

Tension headache usually feels like a pressure band around the forehead. It can occur on both sides of the head, sometimes spreading from the back of the head. This can sometimes cause neck or shoulder pain by making them sore. You can pay attention to these symptoms to see if you have tension headaches:

  • Pain in or around the forehead or back of the head
  • Pain in the neck and shoulders
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Getting irritated easily
  • Tenderness in the scalp and the forehead
  • Pain occurring later during the day


Difference between migraine and tension headache

Unlike migraine, where the pain can be severe, tension headache usually causes mild or moderate headaches. Although migraines will increase due to exposure to light and sounds around the person, tension headaches will not increase. They also don't interfere with daily activities like migraines, but the sufferer may need to take a break from the work they are doing. Migraines cause painful head throbbing, but during tension headaches, they usually don't. Feelings of vomiting or nausea may also be symptoms of migraine, but not tension headache. When tension headaches begin to combine with migraine symptoms (such as vomiting or sensitivity to light), they become mixed headaches.


People often use self-medication to treat headaches, but if the attacks are frequent, it is still recommended to consult a doctor. The doctor can prescribe the correct medicine and the correct dosage to prevent any side effects that may be caused by self-medication. Since tension headaches are mainly caused by stress and fatigue, they can also be treated with home remedies and therapies. If stress is the cause of tension headaches, the therapist may suggest treatments such as biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy to help you cope with the stress. You can also take a break to at least relieve the pain.


The News Talkie Bureau


TimesofIndia Indiatimes

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