Tension Headaches

You’ve probably had a tension headache at some point in your life. If you haven’t, then odds are you will have one eventually. Sometimes referred to as a stress headache or anxiety headache, this is the most common type of headache. About 50% of adults get tension headaches at least once a month. For approximately 1 in 30 people, these headaches are a chronic problem occurring on more than half the days of a month.

A typical tension headache involves a steady — not throbbing — pain on both sides of the head. In most cases, they don’t bring on feelings of nausea or vomiting, but some people experience a sensitivity to bright light or loud noises.

Can Stress Cause Headaches?


Although the exact cause of tension headaches is not known, doctors believe stress is a strong contributing factor. Many people complain of headaches occurring after particularly stressful or hectic days.

In addition to stress, several other factors can contribute to the onset of a tension headache, such as:

+ Eye strain

+ Hunger

+ Tension in the muscles of the neck and/or shoulders

+ Genetic predisposition

+ Environmental factors like bright light or loud noise

Tension headaches are primary headaches, which means they are not caused by other medical problems. Patients feel well between headaches and don’t have any other ongoing symptoms.

Tension Headache Symptoms


Many patients describe a tension headache as feeling like a band or vice is applying pressure around the head. Most last a few hours, but they can last up to several days. Though they are uncomfortable, most people can continue with their daily routine while suffering from a tension headache.

Characteristics of a tension headache include the following:

+ Moderate or mild pain, but usually not severe

+ Pain on both sides of the head

+ A slow approach, worsening as the day goes on

+ Pain is dull and constant, not throbbing

Tension Headache Treatment


The best treatment for tension headaches involves lifestyle adjustments to help deal with symptoms. Careful investigation into causes can also help to reduce or eliminate tension triggers. To alleviate and prevent your tension headache, you can:

+ Drink less caffeine and more water

+ Follow a consistent sleep schedule

+ Don’t skip meals

+ Manage or eliminate sources of stress

+ Apply heat to neck and shoulders to relax muscles

+ Keep a journal of headaches and look for triggers

+ Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation

+ Stretch and exercise muscles in the neck and shoulders regularly

+ Use relaxation therapy such as massage

Most people who suffer from tension headaches find relief through these natural remedies without the need for medications. If you suffer from severe headaches that don’t seem to go away with these techniques, talk to your doctor to ensure no other medical condition is causing your headaches. Get a free consultation to learn more.