What is a tension headache?
Tension headache are the most common type of headache that people get. They are not caused by disease or illness. They are ordinary headaches and are also called muscle tension headaches or stress headaches.
The international Headache Society have stated that tension type headaches may cause a person mild to moderate pain and will affect both sides of the head. There is pressure on the head as well. This headache does not cause pulsating pain and there is not feeling of nausea. The headache will not get worse as the day goes on.
There are different categories or tension headaches based on how much pain they cause and how frequently a person experiences these headaches. They include:
- Infrequent tension headaches
- Each headache may last from 30 minutes to 7 days
- A person may get frequent tension headaches
- They may have between 1 and 14 headaches a month
- Each headache may last between 30 minutes and 7 days
- A person can have chronic and persistent headaches
- They may have more than 15 headaches more month
- The headaches last for hours at a time
- Mild nausea may accompany the headache
- The cause of the tension headache is not known.
When a person has a tension headache they have a feeling of tightness around their head. This can be described as a vice sensation.
Neck and shoulder pain often go with the headache. A person may not be able to concentrate of they may have some trouble sleeping.
A person can have both a tension headache and migraines. The symptoms of both may overlap. Both headaches may get worse when a person is exposed to bright lights and loud noises. A migraine headache may cause a throbbing sensation. Tension headaches may cause constant pain.
When to call the doctor
Headaches are annoying but often harmless. Most headaches will go away without medication or with a mild pain reliever.
Headaches are not often a result of serious medical problems. There are some times when a person should seek medical treatment for their headaches. A person should call a doctor if they experience :
- The headache started after a head injury
- In addition to a headache, there is fever and vomiting
- The headache is causing blurred vision
- A person has trouble speaking
- There is a feeling of numbness in the arms and legs
- The intensity of the headache is increasing
- A person loses consciousness
- Daily medication is needed to control the headache
Headaches that are infrequent are often treated with non-prescription pain medication. Finding the right relief for the headache may take several months. Over the time a person will often experience infrequent headaches.