Tension Headache

Tension Headache

Tension headache has been defined by the Ad Hoc Committee on classification of headache as an “ache or sensation of tightness, pressure, or constriction, widely varied in intensity, frequency and duration: long lasting and commonly suboccipital (base of skull at the back), associated with sustained contraction of skeletal muscles, usually as part of the individual’s reaction during life stress”. Other descriptions of Tension headache include ‘hatband’ tightness around the head and ‘a weight on top of the head’. Tension headaches are amongst the most commonly reported headaches.

Tension headache is not usually accompanied by visual or sensory changes.

It is believed that Tension headaches are caused by muscular contractions in the head, face and neck regions; possibly due to stress and anxiety as well as tightness in the neck and jaw regions. Also Tension headaches may be caused by a number of different factors interacting with each other; it is therefore recommended that these types of headaches be addressed using a number of approaches, once a diagnosis has been arrived at.

Tension headaches may also combine with a vascular type headache (ie:migraine), to produce a ‘Combined’ headache; which essentially involves tension headache and a migraine co-existing. It is therefore important to address potential causes of both and once again this is where a combined approach will be best suited for relieving and/or preventing future attacks.

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