What is it?
Tension headaches are very common – almost everyone will have a tension headache at some time. The pain is often dull and persistent. It often starts at the back of the head or temples, then spreads, becoming like a band around the head. It may feel like pressure or tightness. A tension headache may last for days.
What are the symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of a tension headache include: * Dull, aching head pain * Sensation of tightness or pressure across your forehead or on the sides and back of your head * Tenderness on your scalp, neck and shoulder muscles * Tension headaches are divided into two main categories — episodic and chronic. ###Episodic tension headaches Episodic tension headaches can last from 30 minutes to a week. Frequent episodic tension headaches occur less than 15 days a month for at least three months. Frequent episodic tension headaches may become chronic. ###Chronic tension headaches This type of tension headache lasts hours and may be continuous. If your headaches occur 15 or more days a month for at least three months, they’re considered chronic. ###Tension headaches or. migraines Tension headaches can be difficult to distinguish from migraines. Plus, if you have frequent episodic tension headaches, you can also have migraines. Unlike some forms of migraine, tension headaches usually aren’t associated with visual disturbances, nausea or vomiting. Although physical activity typically aggravates migraine pain, it doesn’t make tension headache pain worse. An increased sensitivity to either light or sound can occur with a tension headache, but these aren’t common symptoms.
- Tension headaches which occur due to muscle strain can be treated through chiropractic manipulation.
- Herbal remedies and nutritional supplements are known to help in curing headaches. The herb, feverfew and nutrients such as riboflavin and magnesium are especially popular as headache remedies.
- Biofeedback is a process in which biological functions such as blood circulation, blood pressure and heart rate are regulated. It is known to help in relieving tension headaches.
- One of the best ways to cure a headache naturally is to engage in relaxation therapy. You can do this in various ways such as deep breathing and meditation. These are helpful when done regularly.
- Hypnosis is another alternative treatment for chronic headaches. It enables the therapist to get a glimpse into the individual’s subconscious mind and identify anxieties or other triggers of stress and tension. However hypnosis is influenced by the individual’s responsiveness to the process.
- In the practice of acupuncture, thin needles are used to stimulate various points on the body. This in turn stimulates the nervous system and enables the release of hormones and chemicals which improve mood and diminish the sensation of pain. Acupuncture is known to be helpful in treating migraine and tension headaches.
- Massage therapy can also be used to relieve headaches as it helps to relax the head, neck, shoulders and back muscles.
- Aromatherapy makes use of different essential oils. Oils such as lavender, chamomile, peppermint and rosemary induce a sense of relaxation and thus help to reduce pain and discomfort.
- Avoid a bad posture.
Things to watch out for
There’s usually no need to see your GP if you only get occasional headaches. However, see your GP if you get headaches several times a week or your headaches are severe.