A tension headache, commonly known as stress headache is characterized as a mild to moderate headache that feels like a tight band around your head. It is one of the most common type of headache whose exact causes has not yet been determined. Usually brought about when someone is stressed or tense, this headache usually radiates from the nape of the neck to the front of the head. While this sensation and its intensity can vary from one person to the next, the pain can be quite debilitating, causing sensitivity to light and fatigue in some people.
Although the exact cause of tension headache is not clear, they are generally caused when your neck and scalp muscles become tense due to excessive straining or holding your head in one position for a long time. Other factors that might lead to muscle contractions include a head injury, stress, anxiety or depression.
Read about 7 reasons for you could be suffering from a headache.
A tension headache is broadly classified into two categories depending upon its frequency and severity. They are –
Episodic – It appears frequently or periodically which means that you might suffer from this headache for 15 days a month. The pain is often mild to moderate in nature and usually causes pressure on the forehead or back of the neck.
Chronic – If you experience headache more frequently i,e; more than 15 days in a month, you are likely to be suffering from chronic or daily tension headache. It results in excruciating pain in the front and sides of the health. Although the intensity of the pain may vary, it is present all through the day.
Here’s why you should take headaches more seriously.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, a person suffering from a tension headache should avoid teeth clenching as well. According to them, when upper teeth touch the lower teeth, it results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull. This leads to TMJ irritation and leads to a form of tension headache. Apart from this, here are some common day-today activities that trigger a tension headache –
Read about 13 foods that can give you a headache.
The common signs andsymptoms of tension headache are -
- Infrequent episodes of headache lasting minutes to days.
- The pain is typically bilateral, pressing or tightening in quality and of mild to moderate intensity, but does not worsen with physical activity.
- Although you might not experience nausea, you might suffer from bouts of photophobia (sensitivity to light) or phonophobia (sensitivity to loud noise).
The main aim of treatment of tension headaches is to relieve pain and symptoms and prevent further attacks. It includes lifestyle changes, medications and stress management. Here is a mega-guide for understanding stress and dealing with it.
Lifestyle modifications: You can relieve symptoms of headache by making changes to your daily routine such as avoid intake of caffeine, eating a balanced diet, being physically active and staying away from factors that cause tension headache. Read about 10 songs to beat stress and get psyched.
Medications: Painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen aid in relieving pain. However, you should consult your doctor before taking them to prevent various side-effects of these drugs when used in excess. Apart from this, antidepressants and muscle relaxants are also prescribed in some cases to combat symptoms associated with tension headache. Here are 6 reasons you should stop taking too many painkillers.
Stress management: Meditation, yoga and acupressure are some of the effective measures to treat tension headaches. As being stress out increases your risk of this condition, you are advised to stay away from stress with the help of these 20 expert tips.
Here are simple yoga asanas to bust your headache.
Here are some quick and simple ways you can use to thwart the pain associated with a tension headache.
Rest your eyes: Close your eyes while to sit comfortably on a chair, rub both your palms together so that they become warm and then place them over your eyes such that your fingers overlap. Breathe in deep making sure your back is straight.
Light pressure: Close your eyes and cup them with the palm of your hands. Apply pressure for around 2-3 minutes and release. This point helps in relaxation and calming the mind. Read about how stress affects your skin.
Peppermint teabags: Wet the tea bags, cool them for a little while and place them on your eyes for about five minutes.
Ginger Tea: Steep some crushed ginger (a one inch long piece should suffice) in a cup of water and sip on this tea before bed for relief. Here’s how green tea helps in relieving headache.
Chamomile tea: Brew a cup of chamomile tea (ensure the tea bag is soaked in water for around ten minutes before you drink it) and add little honey to sweeten it. This might surely help in providing an instant relief.
Lavender or peppermint oil bath: Footbaths or oil baths play a key role in relieving tension headaches. You can either immerse your feet in warm water containing lavender or peppermint oil or add a few drops of these oils to water while bathing.
Here is detailed information on 6 home remedies for tension headaches that really work!
You can avoid the occurrence of tension headaches by following few simple practices. These are –
Here are few tips that might help you to manage stress effectively.