Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches which feel like a constant ache or pressure around the head, especially at the temples or back of the head and neck. Furthermore, it is generally a diffuse, mild to moderate pain on the head that is often described as feeling like a tight band around the head.
Tension headaches also known as stress headaches, chronic daily headaches or chronic nonprogressive headaches are caused by muscle contractions in the head and neck regions.
Tension headaches may be episodic, occur once or twice in 15 days. These headaches may last from 30 minutes to several days. Episodic tension headaches usually begin gradually and often occur in the middle of the day. However tension headaches can be chronic too. Women are twice likely to suffer from tension headaches than men.
Unlike other headaches like migraines, tension headaches are rarely severe and does not get worse by routine physical activities but may have a negative effect on their daily activities.. Similarly, tension headaches affect both sides of the head and are not associated with nausea and vomiting.
Causes of tension headaches
There is no single cause for tension-type headaches. This type of headache syndrome may be an inherited trait that runs in families. Tension headaches are associated with or result in tightened muscles in the back of the neck and scalp. This muscle tension may be caused by
emotional or mental stress, including depression.
Examples of stressors include:
Not getting enough sleep
Having problems at home/difficult family life
Having no close friends or having bad friends
Preparing for school tests or exams
Joining too many extra-curricular activities
Starting a new part-time job
Going on a field trip or vacation
Death of a family member
Symptoms of tension headaches
Constant or episodic, mild-to-moderate head pain
Headache upon awakening
General muscle aches
Difficulty falling asleep
Tension headaches can usually be treated with ordinary painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Other Lifestyle changes, such as getting regular sleep, minimizing stress and staying well hydrated, may also help.
Seek medical help if headache is severe and is associated with fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or speaking difficulties.