Tension headache is a common form of a headache that is suffered by almost everyone. The headache occurs in the head, around the neck, and behind the eyes. It is believed that tension headache usually starts during the teen period, and reaches its peak during the 20-50 years of a human life. Women are more likely to suffer compared to men. Statistically, people who suffer from tension headache have intermittent pain that lasts for few minutes or hours, once or twice per month. However, there are cases of people suffering for 15 days or more per month. The headaches vary from mild, moderate, to acute aches.
What causes tension headache?
As mentioned previously, tension headache mainly arises in the head, around the neck, and behind the eyes. One of the principal reasons for occurring is the contraction of muscles in the head. Apart from this, there are other factors as well. They are:
- Looking at a computer screen for long
- Cold temperature
- Change of season
- Dry eyes
- Mental stress
- Sinus attack
- Bad sitting posture
- Inadequate sleep
- Missing out on meals
Sometimes many people confuse their tension headache with migraine. Migraine is also another form of headache, but the severity is more in migraine than in tension headache. Understanding the symptoms of tension headache is fairly uncomplicated. There are dull aches on the head, plenty of pressure can be felt around the forehead, and throbbing around the forehead and scalp. At times, the tenderness of the head muscles can be felt, while the pain can spread all over the head, at the back of the neck, and all the way to the shoulders. Except for all these symptoms, a tension headache does not take a severe form, but in rarest cases, a patient may get sensitive to light or sound.
Tension headache vs Migraine
In order to differentiate between a tension headache and migraine, always consider migraine to be the serious one. In migraine, the throbbing pain is extremely intense and occurs at either one side of the head, or on the both sides, and cause nausea and vomiting. A migraine patient becomes exceedingly sensitive to light and sound. Considering these, a person with tension headache will not face nausea or vomiting. In the rarest cases, sensitivity to light and sound may crop up.
If a person is consistently suffering from tension headache to an intense level, it is advisable to seek a doctor’s help. The doctor will provide a list of tests just to assure that nothing serious is happening to the patient. The tests will include X-Ray, MRI, as well as CT Scan.
Usually over-the-counter (OTC) medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen (Tylenol) work, but if the case is serious, the doctor will subscribe prescription medicines. Prescription drugs are muscle relaxants, antidepressants, antiseizure drugs or beta-blockers, depending on the situation. If a patient prefers OTC medicines, they have to make sure never to overdose the drugs, and it is always important to seek the doctor’s advise in case the medicines react with the patient’s health condition.
Home remedies to relieve tension headache
There are home remedies to relieve tension headaches. If a patient wishes not to consume any sort of medications, they can try out some home cure. The list contains:
- Put an ice pack on the forehead for five to ten minutes.
- Improve sitting on a good posture.
- Take a hot shower to unwind the tensed muscle.
- Take occasional breaks from working on a computer.
- Do the proper exercise.
- Have meditation.
- Manage stress.
- Get a whole body massage
- Scalp massage- it will help in the circulation of blood in the head, relaxing the muscles.
- Take supplements
Apart from trying any of the above tips, keeping track on the headache, and later trying to prevent it may come very handy in decreasing the pain eventually. In order to keep track, a journal is the best way possible. Also, a regular diet with proper meals, drinking plenty of water, being less stressed, and using computer with occasional breaks can ease out the headache. Or, inhaling few drops of essential oil, such as lavender or peppermint, can relax the muscles and help reduce the headache.
Featured photo credit: r. nial bradshaw via flickr.com
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