Tension Headache

Friday, February 12, 2010

What is a tension headache?

Headache is defined as pain in the head or upper neck. It is one of the most common locations of pain in the body and has many causes.

Tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache; as many as 90% of adults have had or will have tension headaches. Tension headaches are more common among women than men.

What causes tension headaches?

While tension headaches are the most frequently occurring type of headache, their cause is not known. The most likely cause is contraction of the muscles that cover the skull. When the muscles covering the skull are stressed, they may spasm and cause pain. Common sites include the base of the skull where the trapezius muscles of the neck inserts, the temple where muscles that assist the jaw to move are located, and the forehead.

There is little research to confirm the exact cause of tension headaches. Tension headaches occur because of physical or emotional stress placed on the body. Physical stress that may cause tension headaches include difficult and prolonged manual labor, or sitting at a desk or computer for long periods of time Emotional stress may also cause tension headaches by causing the muscles surrounding the skull to contract.

What are the symptoms of tension headaches?

The symptoms of tension headache are:

  • · A pain that begins in the back of the head and upper neck as a band-like tightness or pressure.
  • · Described as a band of pressure encircling the head with the most intense pain over the eyebrows.
  • · The pain is usually mild (not disabling) and bilateral (affecting both sides of the head).
  • · Not associated with an aura (see below) and are not associated with nausea,vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound. (Terms related to Nausea:Dry Heaves;Sick to Stomach;Throwing Up;Vomiting)
  • · Usually occur sporadically (infrequently and without a pattern) but can occur frequently and even daily in some people.
  • · Most people are able to function despite their tension headaches.

How are tension headaches treated?

Tension headaches are painful, and often patients are upset that the diagnosis is "only" a tension headache. Though it is not life-threatening, a tension headache can affect daily life activities.

Most people successfully treat themselves with over-the–counter (OTC) pain medications to control tension headaches. The following work well for most people:

If these fail, other supportive treatments are available. Recurrent headaches should be a signal to seek medical help. Massage, biofeedback, and stress management can all be used as adjuncts to help with headache control.

It is important to remember that OTC medications, while safe, are medications and may have side effects and potential interactions with prescription medications. It is always wise to ask your health care practitioner or pharmacist if you have questions about OTC medications and their use. This is especially important with OTC pain medications, because patients use them so frequently.

It is important to read the ingredient listing of OTC pain medications. Often an OTC medication is a combination of ingredients, and the second or third ingredient may have the potential for drug interaction or contraindication with medications the patient is currently taking. For example:

  • Some OTC medications include caffeine, which may trigger rapid heartbeats in some patients.
  • In night time preparations, diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may be added. This may cause drowsiness and driving or using heavy machinery may not be appropriate when taking the medication.

Other examples were caution should be used include the following:

  • Aspirin should not be used in children and teenagers because of the risk of Reye's Syndrome, a disease where coma, brain damage, and death can occur with a viral like illness and aspirin use.
  • Aspirin and ibuprofen are irritating to the stomach and may cause bleeding. They should be used with caution in patients who have peptic ulcer disease or who take blood thinners likewarfarin (Coumadin) and clopidogrel bisulfate (Plavix).
  • Acetaminophen, if used in large amounts, can cause liver damage or failure. It should be used with caution in patients who drink significant amounts of alcohol or who have liver disease.
  • One cause of chronic tension headaches is overuse of medications for pain. When pain medications are used for a prolonged time, headaches can recur as the effects of the medication wear off. Thus, the headache is a symptom of medication withdrawal (rebound headache).

What else can I do to ease the pain of a tension headache?

Besides taking medicine, other things you can do to ease the pain of a tension headache include the following:

  • Put a heat pack or an ice pack on your head or neck.
  • Take a hot shower.
  • Get enough rest or sleep.
  • Take time away from things that are stressful. This could mean doing anything from taking a brief walk to taking a vacation.
  • Get regular exercise of all types. Work up to exercising for 30 to 60 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week.

Follow these ten simple ways to counter headache:-

  • Poor posture leads to tension headache, so, it is essential to maintain good posture. You need to stretch your body. Since muscles of neck and shoulders contract due to poor posture, it is good to maintain good posture at the time of work. This is a perfect solution. In case of these tension pains, stretching is the only option.
  • Apply moist heat from hot compress as it will remove headaches. Soak towel in hot water. Apply on the areas of pain and this will give relief from headache.
  • Many women have headache before a day of their period. In this type of headache, the women feel pain behind their eyes. To counter this, they should eat foods rich in zinc. They can also eat lean meats.
  • Major cause of headache is stress, so, you need to relax. You need to follow a healthy and have a good amount of sleep and rest. Take some break from work to counter such headache.
  • Tension headaches radiate pain through neck and shoulders and you feel a lot uncomfortable. Massage is a good solution for these types of headaches. To release tension, massage on scalp or shoulder is the only solution.
  • Skipping meal can become prime cause of headache. In case you have headache because of fast, break it and eat and you will feel a lot better.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water makes the body cool and reduces headache. Drink minimum at least eight glasses of water a day.
  • Lie down. Use ice on neck areas, shoulders and temples. This will relax you and you will have relief from headache.
  • Use analgesics or pain killers as they can reduce headaches to some extent. In case problem persists, consult doctor.
  • Migraine sufferers should know what they eat. Such headaches are triggered by food as well.

Natural Remedies for Tension Headaches


According to traditional Chinese medicine, pain results from blocked energy along energy pathways of the body, which are unblocked when acupuncture needles are inserted along these invisible pathways.

Although we don't know exactly how acupuncture works, some of the theories proposed are that acupuncture releases natural pain-relieving opioids, sends signals that calm the sympathetic nervous system, and triggers the release of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) and hormones.

Be sure to speak with your doctor before trying acupuncture. Side effects may include soreness, bruising, or bleeding at the needle location. Acupuncture may also cause temporary tiredness. Although rare, the needle may break or injure an internal organ or structure. Acupuncture may not be safe if you have a bleeding disorder or are taking "blood-thinning" medication.


Doctors of chiropractic are health care professionals that focus primarily on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, and the effects of these disorders on overall health.

Emphasizing the healing power of the body, chiropractic is a hands-on approach most often used for neuromuscular complaints, such as back and neck pain, joint pain, and headaches.

The hallmark of chiropractic care is the "spinal manipulation", which is also called a "chiropractic adjustment." The purpose of the adjustment is to restore joint position and mobility by manually applying a controlled force to a restricted joint.

This restores proper function, relieves pressure on the surrounding nerves, reduces pain and muscle tightness, and allows tissues to heal. There are over 20 different adjusting techniques, which can be used alone or in combination.

Side effects may include mild soreness, which should resolve within one to two days. People with osteoporosis, a history of spinal surgery, vascular disease, stroke, or symptoms of nerve damage such as numbness, tingling, or loss of strength should consult their doctor before seeking chiropractic.

Many doctors of chiropractic also use other therapies, such as ultrasound, electric stimulation, massage, or soft tissue manipulation.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is the application of pressure to the muscles and soft tissues of the body for relaxation and health.

It is used for a variety of conditions such as stress-related illness, sleep disorders, pain, headaches, high blood pressure, diabetes, post-operative swelling, and depression.

Massage therapy by a trained and licensed therapist is generally safe. Be sure that your massage therapist has your complete health history. People with cancer, recent or unhealed fractures, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, deep vein thrombosis, cancer, recent heart attack, burns or open wounds, or who are pregnant should speak to their doctor before having a massage.

Side effects of massage may include temporary soreness, pain, and fatigue. Very rarely, massage may cause internal bleeding, temporary paralysis, and nerve damage, usually resulting from massage by an improperly qualified person.

Other Natural Remedies


1. http://www.medicinenet.com

2. http://familydoctor.org

3. http://www.headacheupdates.com

4. http://altmedicine.about.com/

p/s: i'm not a doctor...but i'm a researcher.


...takkan berhenti menari!!!


penaJannah - Templates para novo blogger