Tension headache is the most common type of tension type headache whose causes are not well understood. It is a diffuse, mild to moderate pain in the head that is usually described as a feeling like a tight band around the victim's head. Tension headaches are divided into two major categories namely episodic tension headaches and chronic tension headaches. To treat tension headache, the patient has to balance between cultivating healthy practices, finding effective nondrug treatments and the appropriate use of medications.
Signs and symptoms
Tension headache is manifested through tenderness of the scalp, neck and shoulder muscles, dull, aching head pain and a sensation of tightness across the forehead or at the back of the head. The victim should seek immediate medical attention if he or she has an abrupt, severe headache, headache that worsens after an injury to the head; or headache that is accompanied with fever, stiff neck, seizures, mental confusion, weakness, numbness, difficulty speaking and double vision.
How would you like to know The REAL Cause Of Headaches
The exact cause of tension headaches is not yet known as some specialists claimed that it emanated from the contractions of muscles present in the neck, face and scalp due to increased tension, emotions and stress. However, research conducted suggest otherwise. The most general theories hold the same view that an improved sensitivity to pain in individuals with tension headaches and probably an increased sensitivity to stress as the causes. Increased muscle softness which is a general symptom of tension headache, might come about due to a sensitized pain system.
Risk factors for tension headache include two major indicators: being a woman and being middle-aged. Most studies suggest that 90% of women and 70% of men go through tension headaches in their lifetimes. Besides, the incidences appear to peak in the 40s.
This is a very common phenomenon whose effects are felt on job productivity and overall quality of life is enormous in situations that such tension headaches become chronic. Such regular pains make one unable to perform his duties normally thus, the victim is at times forced to stay home from work and even if he goes to work, his ability to function efficiently becomes impaired.
Most people with tension headaches opt not to seek medical attention and attempt to treat the ache on their own using over the counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen. Repeated use of such drugs can however cause overuse headaches. Seek the attention of a general practitioner in case of unrelenting headaches for prescription and treatment.
Lifestyle changes and home remedies
A number of strategies can help reduce the frequency of tension headaches including their severity. For instance, managing one's stress level, going hot or cold by applying both heat and ice to sore muscles and perfecting the posture to keep the muscles from tensing. Rest, ice packs or a long, hot shower may be all the victim requires to ease a tension headache.
Aside from regular exercises, try biofeedback training, cognitive behavioral therapy and other relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga and progressive muscle relaxation. In addition to regular exercise, techniques such as biofeedback training and relaxation therapy can help reduce stress. In biofeedback training, one is connected to devices that monitors and gives feedback on functions such as heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. One can therefore learn to reduce muscle tension, slow his or her heart rate and breathing.
Headaches can also be prevented by getting sufficient sleep, avoiding smoking, regular exercises and regular and balanced diet. Additionally, drink plenty of water, limiting alcohol, sugar and caffeine.