Tension headache is a common type of headache which is known as stress headache or pressure headache. It most of the time creates immense pressure and almost takes away your happiness. This type of headache peaks around 30-39 years old. It accounts most common headaches which is about 78%.
What actually are tension headaches?
The different types of tension headaches that ranges from chronic to episodic. Infrequent episodic tension headaches occur 1 day per month or less. Frequent episodic headaches may occur with 1-15 days per month. However, if you find headache that lasts for more than fortnight or 15 days it falls under the category of chronic headaches.
Both episodic and chronic headaches can also affect with person’s quality of life and may also affect work attendance. Social relationships or every day activities also get affected with tension headaches. Tension headaches also often or begin during the day and may further build with intensity but the headache remains unchanged regardless of increased activity. The intensity of pain does not change with physical activity and that makes the difference between tension type headaches and migraines.
Causes of tension headaches:
The exact cause of tension headaches is not known. The various aggravating factors that may lead to tension headache are:
- Lack of food
- Sleep deprivation
- Depression and anxiety
- Forward head posture
- Bad posture from computer work or with bent over to look down at the phone.
- Muscle tightness in the SCM or muscle behind the ear that runs towards base of neck.
- Weakness in the suboccipital muscles that is below the skull or on the back of neck.
- Semispinalis which runs from the bottom of skull on the back side that connects to thoracic vertebrae in the midback.
- Upper Trapezius that runs from the base of skull through neck and top or back of the shoulder and with deep neck flexors.
- Muscle knots in Suboccipital muscles
- Alcohol use and menstruation that may make the headache looks worse
How do you know if you suffer from tension headaches?
In order to diagnose tension type headaches, other diagnoses or with another condition that cause the headaches that must be ruled out. A clinical exam must be perform to know about it. During a physical exam the clinic will identify with the knots in the muscles under and around the skull. When pressure is put through the knots it may also cause pain with another location that can get associated with tension headaches. There are with no formal laboratory tests further to diagnose tension type headaches.
What are the symptoms of tension headache?
- Tightening and pressure type of pain around the head. It may also feel as if you are wearing a hat with tight grip.
- Bilateral pain on both sides with 90% of patients.
- Pain does not increase with exertion.
- Photophobia and phonophobia that may occur which is fear of bright light or loud sounds.
The symptoms of tension headaches can be control with correct posture to some extent.