Tension Headache: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Relief

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Healthy Quote | Facts | Symptoms | Causes | Treatment | Relief | Approach | Outlook | Overview


Tension headaches can happen to anyone, anytime.


Experts generally classified them by mild, moderate, or intense pain. In extreme situations, tensions can extend to the neck and the region behind your retinas.


Most people undergoing tension headaches feel a tight squeeze, compress, or contraction around their forehead. The pain can last for a few hours up to 2 weeks, and affect up to 3% of Americans.


Statistics shown that majority of people tend to encounter chronic tension headaches about twice every month, 24 times a year, sometimes wanting to just bang their head on the wall.


Today’s healthy quote, “Acute and chronic tension-type headaches occur at any age. Seek medical attention if the pain is no longer tolerable!”.



A tension headache is the most common type of headache.


You may experience one or more issues; dull pain, pressure, stress and muscle tension, depression, or tightness near your vital channels.


Evidently, the symptoms affect more women than men. Women faced twice the risk of being affected than men.


In a headache diagnostic survey, some people referred it as a clamp squeezing the skull, others mentioned a tight band bounded across their head, remaining participants could not describe in words – excruciating, debilitating pain around the forehead, neck, and the region around eyes.



About 80% of American adults, teens, or elderly experience severe headaches occasionally.


In fact, 3% reported continuous chronic tension headaches, others regarded episodic tension pain as a common and livable health condition. Acute pain lasts about a few hours and go away while chronic pain can last up to 3 months. Most people agreed to live it with it.


Be it episodic or chronic, pain can last for as little as 30 minutes up to a couple of days. Based on the statistics, frequency increases around the middle of the day due to work, studies, or other demanding activities.


Once the trigger happens, it generally lasts throughout the day albeit slowing and gradually subsiding over the hours. Tension headaches do affect daily routine. Learn how to perform tension relax so as to retain attention, vision, balance, and productivity.


To improve pain control, you’ve to be wary of signs, symptoms, and triggers before the situation escalates. It’s (by far) the best approach to manage the health problem well.


Tension Headache: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Relief

How do I treat tension headaches?



Tension headaches tend to happen when neck and scalp muscles become tense or encounter sudden stimuli. Muscle contractions can be a response to depression, stress, past injury, or anxiety. Learn more about the commonly known symptoms and how you can find pain reliefs.


Common symptoms of tension headaches include:

Increased sensitivity. Tenderness around the forehead and scalp muscles.

Tension-type headaches. Mild, moderate, or intense pain around the forehead.

Chronic triggers. Early morning, middle of day, or late night headaches.

Spotting. Dull head pain, muscle aches, and loss of focus.

High fatigue. Easily irritable, tired, or loss of productivity.

Attention loss. Trouble focusing, completing work, or even eating.

Blindness. Sensitivity to light, noise, dust, flickering objects, or environment.


Similar to its counterpart, migraines, you may experience mild nerve issues like muscle weakness, slurred speech, blurred vision, or vertigo. Actual outcome will not be as severe as migraines. What you feel is a mild version of a migraine.


Unlike migraines, you don’t have negative effects like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting symptoms that are associated with migraines. Regardless of cause, you must seek medical assistance from the nearest clinic, hospital, or Accident & Emergency nearby you.


Pain Process

A tension headache doesn’t have a specific process. It generally begins at the back of the head, spread forward to your forehead, and finally reaching your retinas – affects your cognitive thinking and vision.


Also, the pain can further spread to the neck, shoulders, or your facial areas – causes mild discomfort and irritation. The effect can occur to both sides of the head and dominate your entire body’s functional systems. Daily activities thus are being affected in one way or the other.



There’s no specific cause for tension headaches. They can happen at anytime, anywhere, any moment, or everyday. It’s important to understand what causes acute, chronic, or random tensions to trigger and find out the plausible scenarios to avoid starting one.


Common Causes

  • Strenuous issues. Work, family, friends, school, projects, or undue stress.

  • Disorders. Bulimia, sleep problems, ADHD, or other mental health issues.

  • Environments. Chaos, loud noise, bright lights, and flickering screens.

  • Events. Sudden excitement, sadness, or disappointment.

It takes one single, stressful event for episodic tension headache to trigger, and longer term exposure leads to increased risk of chronic tension headaches.


Leading Causes

  • Muscle contractions. Compression, suppression, or squeezed muscles.

  • Feeding habits. Bad diets affect overall body’s functional systems.

  • Activities. Outdoors, sports, or other strenuous plays.

  • Stressors. Unwanted pressure, stress, or constraints.

  • Engagements. Eyestrains, vision problems, long speeches, poor posture, muscles strains.

  • Temperatures. Change in temperatures to extreme coldness, hotness, or warmness.


Other Causes

  • Frequent drinking. Alcoholic beverages, carbonated drinks, or gas items.

  • Caffeine overdose. Coffee, tea, or other caffeine-related products.

  • Pressure. Sinus infection, smoking, eyestrain, dry eyes, or fatigue.

  • Sickness. Cold or flu, emotional stress, or insufficient rest.

  • Malnutrition. Hunger, low iron levels, or dental problems and non-dental problems.


The cause of tightened muscles is yet to be known. Fortunately, tension headaches are non-transferable genes, not part of DNA, and depends on individual circumstances. Lest you share the load of family burdens or a stressful environment, you will not experience tension headaches.

Note: Women is twice likely to be affected than men.



Leaving a tension headache unattended is not the best solution. Treat it when it is still mild. The appropriate measure is to identify trigger points, observe, and avoid whenever necessary. Preventing further disturbances can stop future pain with the help of some efforts in learning and controlling situations.


Home Remedies (Over-The-Counter Medications)

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB)

  • Aspirin

  • Paracetamol

Remember to use them only if needed. Excessive dosage may cause other health complications especially the kidneys, livers, or digestive tracts. Higher doses each time happens because of the body’s immunoreaction to these OTC medications. Do check with your doctor for more information.


Doctor’s Prescriptions (Over-The-Counter Medications)

  • Naproxen (Naprosyn)

  • Indomethacin (Indocin)

  • Ketorolac (Ketorolac Tromethamine)

  • Opiates (OxyContin, Vicodin, Perocet)

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)


Local Pharmacy Stores (Over-The-Counter Medications)

  • Muscle relaxants (Baclofen or Lioresal, Tizanidine or Zanaflex)

  • Antidepressants (Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRI, Triptans, Imitrex, SNRI)



  • Clinical psychology (Consultations)

  • Acupuncture (Acupressure)

  • Stress management modules (classes)

  • Non-invasive therapies (Yoga, Meditations, Mindfulness)


Pain relievers work well in the short term yet headache issue persists till fully managed. If you want to control head pains, look into highly effective alternative therapies like eastern acupuncture therapy and medicinal herbs. Fine needles on pressure points can alleviate the pain while herbal remedies subsiding the trigger points – perfect combo for pain management.



Subdue tension headaches with the help of supplements. This technique is insofar a viable remedy. Just avoid using preventive supplements and western medicines at the same time. Counter-reactive effects might be present because of poor interactions.


The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health prescribes the following supplements to help prevent tension headaches.


7 supplements that improve tension headache pain include:

  • Feverfew

  • Butterbur

  • Co-Q10 or Coenzyme Q10

  • Antidepressants

  • Riboflavin

  • B-12 Vitamins supplements

  • Herbal extracts or medicinal herbs

An important note is not to use more than one preventive medication at a time. Overuse or overdose of medication can cause intoxication – harm the kidney, liver, or body organs. Most supplements improve body’s immunity against migraines but you’ll need to check with a doctor.


Even if your pharmacy’s medicine does not curb tensions, made up of low-grade ingredient or an ineffective solution, the effect can at least mitigate pain in head for an extended time. Also, preventive therapy aims at reducing frequency of the tension headaches.


Also, check out other non-invasive treatments:

  • Muscle-relaxing showers (hot, cold, warm)

  • Improved sitting posture (straightened backbone, lumbar support)

  • Ice pads (WellPatch, Coralite, BeKoool, Kool ‘n’ Soothe, MigraSoothe)

  • Heating pads (Sunny Bay, Neck & Body Wraps, Thermophore, Thermotex Platinum)

  • Rest (15 minutes break period for every 1 hour of computer work)

Always look for practical measures you can use at the comfort of home. They’re low in cost, effective, and hassle-free. Otherwise, trips to doctor clinics, hospitals, or pharmacy stores can cost you some money, time, work leaves, and resources. Work on those headache triggers.



Diagnosis of tension headaches is not simple. Initial prognosis from doctors might be severe headaches, migraines, vertigo, or neurological problems. Book your consultation today. A tested and proven method of treatment can possibly exclude the need of surgery and medication.


Tension Headache – Diagnosis and treatment may include:

Sinus X-rays.

Computed Tomography (CT) scan.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan.

Questions & Answers.

Blood tests.

Traditional checkbox criteria.


In short, there’s no permanent cure to tension headaches nor viable treatment options to heal them. And, it’s possible for a relapse on acute and chronic tension headaches. Never delay your tension headache treatment appointments. One wrong move might lead to serious health consequence, sometimes life-threatening complications.


Searches related to tension headaches:

Query: Prophylaxis, disorder, aura, medicine, test, slurred speech, tension, vertigo, neurology.

Types: Complicated Migraine (Aura). Migraine without aura (Common). Hemiplegic migraine. Retinal migraine. Ice Pick migraine. Cluster headaches. Familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM). Cervicogenic headache, Temporal arteritis, Giant cell arteritis (GCA),

Regurgitate: Tension Headache: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Relief

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