Tension headache – Prevalent among individuals due to various factors

Tension headache is a kind of pain (ranging from mild to moderate in severity) either on back side of head and neck or on the forehead. The pain can be dull in nature or pressurizing band like pain .

Tension headache is treated through development of healthy habits and using medicines appropriately.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Kind of headache which is dull in nature
  • Tenderness is felt on scalp of head, neck as well as shoulder muscles.

Categories of tension headache:

  1. Episodic tension headache
  2. Chronic tension headache

Episodic tension headache usually last for 30 minutes till a week. Its occurrence is less than 15 days per month for 3 months. Repeated episodic tension headache can become chronic.Chronic tension headache can last till hours and can be continuous. When the tension headache will occur more than 15 days per month for three months, it is chronic.

Comparison with migraine:

Migraine is difficult in distinguishing from migraine. It is because sometimes, the patient has both migraine and tension headache simultaneously. Tension headache is not associated with nausea and visual disturbance. Physical activity worsens the cases of migraine, but the pain does not aggravate with physical activity in tension headache.


Appointment with a doctor:

A suffering patient needs to visit a doctor despite of routine repeated check-up because occasionally, this is not casual headache, but a symptom of brain tumour or any blood vessel rupture.

Emergency cases:

Following signs and symptoms require emergency care:

1.      Severe and abrupt headache

2.      Headache with mental confusion, stiff neck, weakness, double vision, numbness, fever or any speaking difficulty.

3.      Headache after any head injury.


The aetiology is unknown. Some experts said that there had been any link between muscular contractions in the regions of scalp, face and neck and tension headache. But, recent research suggests that the muscle contractions are not related with any initiation of tension headache.

Related complications:

Chronic type of tension headache has impact on both quality of life and job productivity. The repetition of pain makes the person unable to perform daily essential activities. Either there will be absentees from job or the performance of that individual in the office is impaired.

How to prevent this kind of headache?

Following are the preventive methods, apart from daily exercises for tension headache prevention:

1.      Cognitive behavioural therapy: It is for stress management and reduces the severity and frequency of headache.

2.      Biofeedback training: This technique involves certain ways to reduce pain. The body of patient is connected to some devices, observing internal systems of the patient and that is how the training takes place.

3.      Relaxation techniques: The techniques like meditation, yoga, deep breathing and other relaxation techniques help in pain relief.

Lifestyle modifications:

Following modifications are also beneficial in prevention of tension headache:

  • Proper water intake.
  • Daily exercise.
  • No smoking
  • Enough sleep.
  • Regular and balanced meals.
  • Limit consumption of sugar and caffeine.
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