There are many types of headaches, usually determined by the location and severity of the pain they cause. Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headaches. Many moms, dads, and people with stressful jobs report having tension headaches.
What Is a Tension Headache?
Tension type headaches account for up to 90% of all headaches. The pain brought on by one of these headaches is usually located somewhere in the back of the head and can radiate down the neck, into the shoulders, and also to the front of the head and to the eyes. A lot of times, tension headaches are accompanied by a feeling of tightness.
Primary or Secondary?
Tension headaches are considered to be primary headaches, and are not usually indicators of any severe underlying conditions.
There are many causes of tension headaches, but mostly they are connected with being overworked and stressed out. Being overly tired or straining your eyes can also bring on a tension headache, as can incorrect posture. Hunger is very commonly a trigger for tension headaches, too.
Tension headaches are commonly marked by a feeling of stress or tightness in the neck and shoulders, but that is not always the case. Most often the pain is described as pressure, like that of your head being squeezed. Tension headaches can last for just a few minutes or last for days, and they vary in severity.
There are many treatments for tension headaches. The effectiveness of each treatment is usually determined by the individual, the cause of the pain, and the severity of the headache itself. Over-the-counter medications are common to treat tension headaches. There are over-the-counter medications that are labeled specifically for tension headaches, but one medication might be just as good as the next depending on cause and severity of the headache.
For very severe occurrences, prescription options might be necessary. Depending on the individual and the severity of the headache, many times medication is not needed at all. Sometimes tending to the cause of the headache can go very far to treat it. A glass of water, a short nap, a snack, or a simple neck massage can sometimes be just the trick, as can finding ways to reduce stress.
How to Choose the Right Treatments
The right treatment depends on the individual experiencing the headache and how severe the pain is. Sometimes it might be best to try simpler methods such as a glass of water and a snack before resorting to taking medication. It is really up to you but if you are having issues with many stress headaches, re-evaluating your life might be in order.
When to See a Professional
When or if your tension headaches become very severe or if you are experiencing recurrent headaches, it might be helpful to see a physician. First of all, you want to be sure that your headaches are in fact tension headaches and not a more serious type. Second, a physician might be able to help you find better treatments and even prevent recurrences and have suggestions that will help you avoid stress.
Taking good care of yourself is the best prevention of tension-type headaches. Using good posture, staying hydrated and remembering meals is always a good start. Trying to avoid strain and stress are usually good preventative measures too.
If you have any doubts at all about what type of headache you are experiencing, it is always a safe practice to get checked out by a physician. Otherwise, tension headaches are typically benign and easily treated.